BLM Elko, Wells Field Office, announces closure of BLM Road 1096 for Orange Bridge Replacement Project

Elko DO
Media Contact

Elko, Nev. – The Wells Field Office, Elko District, Bureau of Land Management, will be closing the Orange Bridge to vehicle use beginning Monday, June 3 through Friday, October 30, 2024.  The Orange Bridge is in the Marys River watershed in northern Elko County, Nevada and is part of BLM road 1096.

“The intent of the closure is to ensure public safety and to minimize disturbance to the Marys River riparian area and associated wildlife, including Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and Greater Sage-grouse,” said Wells Field Office Manager, Casey Addy. The temporary closure period is outlined in the project planning documents. Orange Bridge is one of the highest priorities for replacement for the Bureau of Land Management in the state of Nevada. The bridge was inspected in 2021 by structural engineers and was found that the “ bridge’s structure is critically deficient.”

Critical Findings are defined in the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) which are found under 23 CFR 650 Subpart C as “A structural or safety related deficiency that requires immediate follow-up inspection or action.” It is BLM policy, per Manual Section 9112, that all Critical Findings have a follow-up plan of action (POA) that identifies the course of action that will be followed at the structure, identifies the deadline for completing the action, and identifies the person responsible for completing the action.

Orange Bridge was first installed in 1954 and modified in 1991 to provide passage across Marys River. This bridge provides access to the northern part of the Elko District and the Jarbidge Wilderness in Elko County, Nevada. Other access points involve a 50-mile detour, making this bridge a key component to northern access for recreationists, livestock grazing permittees, and all others. The current bridge has been limited to a 3-ton payload since 2013 due to wear on the steel beams supporting the bridge and the wood decking that acts as its surface.

Construction activity from beginning to end is expected to take approximately 4 weeks, with all activity being limited to a six-week window that begins on September 16th. All construction would take place between September 16th – October 30th to isolate the period of lowest flow within the river, outside of spawning season that coincides with other wildlife restrictions from Greater sage-grouse (GRSG). These timing restrictions mean that during construction there would either be no flow underneath the bridge or limited flow that would not be impeded by the construction activity. No construction equipment would be allowed to enter the stream bed and activity would be monitored pre and post construction by BLM biologists.  The construction will start no sooner than September 16, 2024, and end no later than October 30, 2024.

If you have questions or comments about this annual closure, contact Duncan Welch , Civil Engineer, at 775-753-0200 or by email at .

Topographic map showing the following. Orange Bridge is closed. Detour routes include Hank's Creek Road and Marys River Bridge. Mary's River Road and T Creek Bridge are open.
Map showing closure of Orange Bridge along with detour routes along Hank's Creek Road and Marys River Bridge.

Download a PDF of the Detour Map