Written by Flori Wentzell

One historic centerpiece of southern Utah is in danger of living its last days. The Rockville Bridge, built in 1924, is aging quickly, and locals fear losing this vital link over the Virgin River and piece of the town’s history.

The bridge gives a connecting route from Zion National Park to the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Locals and visitors use this connection daily to get to their town, homes, and recreation. However, the Rockville Bridge is seen as more than just transportation from one side to the other. The bridge is a monument to the town’s locals, having been used in the area for approximately 90 years. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places and the only Parker truss bridge in the state of Utah.

According to 2012 study conducted by the Utah Department of Transportation, the wear and tear on the Rockville Bridge after so many years has deteriorated its load rate from 25 tons to 14 tons. With daily, continual traffic in that area, the bridge’s life expectancy is dying fast.

Town Council member Pam Leach said, “It is a beautiful bridge. It deserves to be maintained and allowed to stay as part of our history.”

The town of Rockville has a strong tradition in preserving its heritage. A grant is in place for a new bridge to replace the current Rockville Bridge, but residents of Rockville and the canyon want to do all they can to preserve the old bridge. The Rockville Bridge has become a historical feature that locals hope to keep in service for many more years.

“It may be that the maintenance will be to keep it in place and to protect it so that it can be a pedestrian bridge,” Leach said.

The town’s locals have begun taking the necessary steps to restoring the bridge. By starting the Town of Rockville’s Historic Bridge Fund, locals hope to raise enough money through donations to help increase the load rate that will keep the bridge in service for another 30 years, while keeping up with the bridge’s appearance.

Any donations to the fund will go toward engineering studies for confirmation of construction processes that can be done and continual maintenance of the bridge. Leach says the town has raised about $5,000 so far toward the engineering tests. Donations can be made online at www.rockvilleutah.org/bridge.

“It deserves to be maintained,” Leach said. “It is the only bridge that the National Park Service ever built outside of a national park. It has a lot of history behind it. We would like to get people behind us and support us in maintaining the bridge.”

For more information about the Rockville Bridge visit www.therockvillebridge.org.

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