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Red Bridge, Keremeos

The Red Bridge is the sole survivor of five bridges that crossed the Similkameen River on the Great Northern Railway line from Oroville WA to Keremeos. Abandoned in 1954, in 1961 the one-lane, covered bridge was turned into road access to the south side of the Similkameen River and to the Ashnola Valley.

However, over time the bridge suffered from vandalism and ice jams, and in 2005 the Red Bridge Committee was formed to save the 942-foot-long bridge from being destroyed and a new structure put in place.

Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society member Mike Meheriuk played a major role on the committee by helping to convince the provincial government to leave the bridge as a historical marker for the Keremeos area. A $700,000 restoration and upgrade got underway in 2005. A contractor was hired to install cladding on the outside, and steel panels were placed on the inside to prevent vandals from kicking out the cladding. Members of the Red Bridge Committee and volunteers from Keremeos painted the boards.

On July 26, 2008, a centennial celebration was held at which time B.C. Lieutenant-Governor and First Nations elder Stephen Point officially declared the bridge 100 years old.

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