Peck residents can rest a little easier this spring knowing the likelihood of flooding has been greatly reduced with the installation of a longer and taller bridge crossing Bear Creek on Big Canyon Creek Road. The road provides access to Highway 12 for about 200 residents of the City as well as surrounding rural residents.

After removing rocks and gravel which had accrued over the years, Nezperce County Road and Bridge crews replaced the existing 40 foot bridge with a 50 foot pre-fabricated structure. The new bridge will have five feet of stream clearance as opposed to two feet.

The larger structure will help to accommodate spring runoffs, prevent flooding damage, reduce debris accumulation and stabilize abutments.

Though the site has been a concern since the early ‘90’s, the other major consideration for the site to finally achieve funding were the fish. In a time when so many efforts are coordinated to bring the dwindling numbers of steelhead back to a healthy and sustainable balance, surveys confirmed the presence of steelhead smolts in the first few miles of Bear Creek which runs into the Clearwater.

The original cost estimate for the project was $446,000. The Idaho Office of Species Conservation with the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, and the Idaho Department of Water Resources, each contributed approximately $115,000, with Nezperce County and the Soil and Water Conservation District providing the match with funds and in-kind work.

Work began in mid-July and was temporarily interrupted to complete an archeological evaluation.

The project is hoped to be completed in early December. Mark Ridinger, Director of Highways for Nezperce County, said they were hoping the weather will cooperate to be able to pave within the next few weeks.

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