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Heavy Hay Truck Crashes Through South Fork Bridge

Heavy Hay Truck Crashes Through South Fork Bridge Accident Breaks North Bend

Water Main. Causes Interruption of Service

The pipe line supplying water for the City of North Bend was severed early Tuesday morning when weight of a heavy truck and trailer carrying a load of hay across the South Fork bridge caused a floor beam to give way. The city's pipe line, attached to the beam, was broken simultaneously, and residents were without water during the early morning hours.

Temporary water supply was provided by a 2 1/2 inch fire hose which "piped" water around the bridge and into an undamaged portion of the pipe. Complete restoration of service is expected by Friday noon, according to Roy Barrette, local representative for the North Bend Water company.

Restaurants and other business houses using water in large quantities, as well as individual house-holders, were inconvenienced by the break, which left residents of Maloney's Grove completely without water for several days. A majority of the townspeople were extremely cooperative, however, and bore the interrupted service and curtailed supply without complaint.

Had 10-Ton Capacity

At the time of its construction 17 years ago, the South Fork bridge had a 10-ton capacity. At the time of the accident, the bridge was in a considerably weakened condition since workmen were in the process of replacing a floor beam which had rotted away. The ton-capacity sign had been removed, due to the repairs, and the driver of the truck, reportedly a Mr. Chandler of Ellensburg, had no way of knowing that his load was exceeding even the normal capacity, it was learned.

Repairs on the bridge, which was opened to light traffic not exceeding three tons at 2 p.m. Wednesday, are expected to be completed by this evening, according to William Simmons, county road supervisor for the sixth district. Workmen were waiting for lumber, since the beam required is of more than ordinary size. The old floor beams were 14-inches by 18-inches by 26-feet and the replacements will be 14-inches by 20-inches by 26-feet, according to Mr. Simmons.

Meanwhile the Middle Fork bridge, two and one-half miles northeast of North Bend, is still closed to traffic. Barricaded a month ago, the bridge is unsafe for traffic of any kind and must be replaced or almost completely rebuilt before it well be usable. Mr. Simmons reports that the matter of reconstruction is still under consideration by the county commissioners, but that he has received no word as to the board's decision.

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