A pair of big green helicopters will pluck pieces of a historic eastern Iowa bridge from near Hale in Jones County this morning, carrying them to a new home in Anamosa. Iowa National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood says the bow-string style bridge was built in 1879 and can no longer support heavy traffic, so it’ll be salvaged to serve a new purpose.
Hapgood says the bridge will be divided into three sections and two National Guard Chinook helicopters will hoist them up, hauling them 15-miles through the air to Wapsipinicon State Park. Each section should weigh about ten-thousand pounds. The bridge, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally brought to the Hale area 127 years ago via railroad and ox cart.
Hapgood says once the bridge sections are moved onto the pilings that have been built for them, it’ll become a park pedestrian bridge — for use by hikers and bicyclists. Hapgood says it’s an exciting new phase in the life of the structure. He says the Guard has three main missions — serving the federal and state governments and helping Iowa’s communities. This endeavor falls into that third category.
Hapgood says the Iowa National Guard is going to help in the betterment of northeast Iowa with this project. “We have the capability to do so and if you have an opportunity like that as a neighbor, to help make things better, why don’t you take it?” He says it’ll also be a good training tool for the Guard helicopter crews, based near Davenport at Mount Joy. The History Channel plans to shoot today’s effort for its show “Mega Movers.”