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The Mysterious Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon

The Mysterious Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon

There are many natural wonders in Arizona that make it such a special place to live, work and visit. From the Grand Canyon to the Petrified Forest, these natural wonders attract tourists from all over the world. But did you know that one of the most unique sights in the state can be found just east of Lake Powell? The Navajo Bridge has long been known as one of Arizona’s strangest bridges, even among other bridges throughout the world. This bridge spans Marble Canyon, connecting Highway 89A with U-159 on the north side and Highway 89A with Bitter Springs Road on the south side.

Image source- ADOT

What is it?
Located near the mouth of Marble Canyon is the Navajo Bridge. The bridge was constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation with funds from the Public Works Administration and authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. This unique structure, which is supported only on each side by a single steel arch, replaced a previous wooden bridge that had been washed away during a flash flood earlier that year. The bridge was commissioned to provide access across the Colorado River as part of an irrigation project for farmlands on the reservation.

Who made it?
A bridge was needed to get the railroad across Marble Canyon. The first bridge, which was made of wood, burned down in an accident. This led to the construction of a metal bridge that is now called the Navajo Bridge. The bridge is 1,800 feet long and 109 feet high and it’s one of the highest bridges on Earth. Despite its name, it doesn’t appear to be built by Native Americans as no Native American cultural artifacts have been found. However, some believe the Navajo Indians may have crossed this area before Europeans settled America.

Why did they make it?
For centuries, people have been trying to understand the purpose of the bridge. One theory is that it was a ritual pathway for Native Americans. Another theory is that it was used as a way to cross the Colorado River during floods. But no one really knows for sure what the bridge was used for. Archaeologists are still unsure about why they made it and why they left so many other buildings and pathways unused. It’s possible this bridge had a practical use such as ferrying people across the river, or maybe it was just meant to be purely symbolic. What we do know is that this beautiful artifact stands alone on its own private island in the middle of an American desert – with no one ever using it!

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How did they build it?
In order to build the bridge, it is said that the builders used ropes and cables to connect the two cliffs. A cable was strung from one cliff to the other, and then a series of pulleys were attached. It is believed that this cable was used to hold up the planks of wood which made up the bridge. According to those who have investigated this claim, there is no evidence that supports this theory.

How long will it last?
It is hard to say how long the bridge will last because it has been around for so many years. However, bridges like this have a lifespan of about 50 years. The construction materials are not as durable as they used to be and the environment is more harsh. Since 1988 there have been four major floods that caused damage to the bridge, which left cracks in some parts of the metal supports. Repairing this damaged is difficult because any work done can also cause problems with other parts of the structure. All these factors make it likely that one day soon we will see it gone from our beautiful landscape forever.

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