Listen to this post
The plans for a new bridge over the South Fork four miles below where the road ends at the South Fork Campground are being finalized in preparation for construction next summer. Since Federal money is paying for part of the cost, Federal standards must be followed. The result is a wide two-lane bridge (32 feet between curbs) and 400-600 feet of wide connecting roadways located within a long stretch of single lane road which dead ends four miles away and is closed for at least six months of the year. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?
Originally, I was told that the bridge is structurally deficient. However, when I talked to Jeff Anderson, the CDOT engineer who last rated this bridge (303-757-9188), I learned that the steel truss needs maintenance and the supports (piling) are poor but not so bad as to be hazardous. The reason the bridge is eligible for replacement is because it is narrow. A single lane bridge in a single lane road is not too narrow!
This bridge will probably cost about a million bucks. The early estimate is $800,000, but you know how estimates go. Rio Blanco County must pay more than half of the cost since the feds don’t have enough money for the usual 80/20 split. Therefore, about half a million dollars of our tax money will be spent on a bridge that is satisfactory for the use to which it is put. If the county put up a couple of hundred thousand to paint the existing bridge and beef up the supports, the balance could go toward other badly needed county road problems.