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Hurricane Arch Bridge Archive

Bridge Dualling Over The Virgin
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
Thumbnail clicks pop-up larger images.
Hurricane Arch Bridge 1 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Arch Bridge 2 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Arch Bridge 3 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Arch Bridge 4 © Ian Scott Parker
Construction work on dualling our local Hurricane Arch Bridge over the Virgin River is proceeding satisfactorily. The second arch structure is complete, and almost ready to accept the road decking. The first of the twin bridges to become operational was a brand new structure, whereas the second is an overhaul of the original bridge. The picture on the left shows details on the concrete panels that form the roadway side barriers. These are decorated with embossed figures based on Native American figures from ancient petroglyphs, found in the desert southwest areas of the USA.

The afternoon sunshine throws a double shadow of the new bridges onto the canyon wall. Perhaps, if you are of an imaginative turn of mind, you will be able to see them as Kokopelli, the Hump Backed Flute Player, and his wife Kokopellimana. The portal to the James Q. Jacobs web collection includes one to rock art resources. James has a collection of 2,000 rock art image transparencies, and he has patterns for computer desktops, available for download. The latter are repeating motifs, not full desktop pictures, but there are other interesting image downloads available.



Progress & Controversy at Pah Tempe
MAP: Washington County Click thumbnails to change main picture selection.

UPDATE: a smaller (still 1.3Mb I am afraid), clearer topographical map has now been linked. The Famous Locations web site on movie locations now uses extracts from the 'James Bond Fly-Under' article featured on this weblog.


Hurricane New Arch Bridge 1 © pishtush.comHurricane New Arch Bridge 2 © pishtush.comHurricane New Arch Bridge 3 © pishtush.comHurricane New Arch Bridge 4 © pishtush.com
Hurricane New Arch Bridge 5 © pishtush.comHurricane New Arch Bridge 6 © pishtush.comHurricane Old Bridge © pishtush.comHurricane Bridges Old & New © pishtush.com

The Native Americans of the Paiute tribe called this place Pah Tempe. Here the Virgin River has cut through the Hurricane Fault to make its final descent from the Colorado Plateaus. After one final awesome burst of erosion in the stupendous gorge between the towns of St. George, UT and Mesquite, NV it joins the mighty Colorado River from which John Wesley Powell gave the Plateaus their name. The earliest of the Pioneer settlements in these parts were on the north side of the river around LaVerkin, but the Pioneers always had their eyes on the rich alluvial benches around what is now the town of Hurricane to the south. First the higher waters of the Virgin River had to be tapped, and brought to the land by the Hurricane Canal. The river was a barrier to communications for the growth of the new town whose first dwelling was erected just after the turn of the 20th century, but as early as 1908 the first bridge was erected, so that fording the river, especially dangerous in times of flash floods off the Plateaus, was no longer necessary. The town has since grown and prospered.

In 1937 the increase in traffic, from both local growth and increased tourism to the nearby Zion National Park, persuaded the road planners to erect a new bridge. To avoid the twists and turns needed to descend into the canyon they built the Hurricane Arch Bridge that boldly spans from one rim of the canyon to the other. Now the traffic volumes have grown to the point that a parallel bridge is being built to make a dual crossing. Work has reached the point where the arch is in place, and the last section of decking is being installed. In the latter part of the last century the Canal was replaced by a pipeline, which has recently been upgraded, with a new crossing of the river alongside the first historic bridge.

Pah Tempe is now the source of a controversy between the local water undertaking, the WCWCD (Washington County Water Conservancy District), and the resort owner, Kenneth Anderson. The hot sulphurated water aquifer that supplies the hot springs resort now has insufficient flow to allow operation to continue, allegedly following WCWCD work in the area. The resort was closed once before from 1992 to 1996 for similarly alleged reasons, and has now been closed since January 2002.

The controversy has widened to include proposals to pipe water through the area from Lake Powell, and the powerful Sierra Club (article in their PDF format newsletter) has joined the debate. Accusations are being made from all sides of the controversy. The democratic legitimacy of the WCWCD's authority has been questioned along with their fulfillment of legal obligations. There have even been opinions expressed that question the impartiality of the local courts.

This is not the place for a forum on the problems, so I have simply tried to objectively outline the publicly stated grievances, without I hope giving any weight to the debate. The WCWCD rebuttal of the accusations against them is in a PDF format file available from their web site, along with four other PDF documents of plans and maps detailing WCWCD activities associated with Pah Tempe. Evidence from the plaintiff appears on the Natural Frequency web site. It may be 'all about the oil' in some parts of the world, but increasingly in the arid south west it is 'all about the water'.



Pix of the Day: James Bond Fly-Under

Hurricane Arch Bridge © Ian Scott-Parker
Hurricane Arch Bridge gorge © Ian Scott-Parker
This is the bridge that starred in the opening sequences of the 1983 James Bond movie 'Octopussy'. I was only able to find one reference on the web to this story. As I was hesitantly thinking that I might have to use words like 'hearsay' and 'allegedly' my wife had two visitors. Both attested to the fact, and one of them actually saw the plane flying around the town while filming was taking place. The plane flew up the gorge seen in the smaller clickable picture, which is left and downstream of the main picture. After passing under the arch it then banked and climbed steeply to clear the cliffs on the other side of the structure, which carries UT-SR9 from Hurricane, UT to LaVerkin, UT. The deck of the bridge is currently being refurbished.

The plane in question was a Bede Acrostar flown by J.W. Corky Fornof. That page comes from the 007archive.com website, along with other 007 material mentioned here. Another page on James R. Bede suggests that if Fornof did build the plane he may have done so from a Bede kit. The plane also appeared on the posters for the movie. There is even a trailer available from the BondMovies.com website, which shows the plane in action, though not flying under the bridge, regrettably. The replica planes used in filming ended up at Planet Holywood in Las Vegas, NV and Dublin, Ireland. There was a report that the flying version was offered for sale in the American Movie Classic's First Live Online Auction on Thursday, July 12th, 2001.

  
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)