Key Gifford Pinchot road won't reopen until July

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RANDLE — Road No. 25, a major north-south route through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, is not expected to reopen to through traffic until July due to a $1.3-million bridge replacement at Benham Creek.

The road connects between Pine Creek Information Station at Swift Reservoir on the south over Elk Pass to the Cowlitz Valley near Randle in Lewis County.

Elk Pass, at 4,090 feet elevation, normally is not free of snow until June, so the disruption to through travel should be minimal.

A massive landslide came down Benham Creek draw in January of 2009, destroying the bridge at milepost 13.5 on road No. 25. The bridge was replaced later in 2009 with a one-land temporary steel truss bridge.

The replacement bridge will be two lanes and set on abutments to withstands slides.

CP Construction of Oakland, Ore., is the contractor.

“The goal is to have it open to forest visitors by the Fourth of July weekend,’’ said Craig Sanders, a federal engineer.