Among the Wyoming Department's many bridge projects this year, one of them is to replace an historic structure just north of Sheridan.

The Monarch Bridge is more than 100 years old and served what was once the largest underground coal mine in Wyoming.

WYDOT notes that the bridge was originally built to provide access to the city of Monarch, and the trestle on the side was actually for the mine cars to come across.

At its peak Monarch had about 800 people.

The mine and the town are long gone, but the bridge serves as a reminder of the area's past, even though the structure and supports are deteriorating.

WYDOT has decided that due to its historical significance, they are going to remove the existing bridge and install a temporary detour for now until they can replace it.

The replacement will be a collaboration with Sheridan County.

WYDOT is administering the project contract through the federal bridge replacement off system, or B.R.O.S program.

Once removed they will begin to work with the Sheridan Community Land Trust and the Padlock Ranch to preserve the bridge structure. The original bridge will remain on display nearby with an interpretive historical marker for ten years.

After that, they have the opportunity to renew their lease or abandon it as a historical marker.

The bridge replacement and site reclamation is expected to be complete this fall.

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