October 5, 2011
No one has yet adopted the beloved “green bridge,” also known as Black Squirrel Creek Bridge, between Falcon and Peyton. And time is running out.
The Colorado Department of Transportation will select a primary contractor Thursday, spokesman Bob Wilson said Wednesday. The winning bidder will be finalized in two to three weeks. Work to replace the historic bridge on eastern U.S. Highway 24 then will start.
That means the 1934 truss bridge, with distinctive large triangular beams, will be demolished early next year, Wilson said.
“But we’ll consider any takers until it’s dismantled,” he said.
CDOT has been trying to give away the bridge. The new owner would need to move the landmark, which in 2002 was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, to another location and re-assemble it for a new life, such as on a pedestrian or bicycle route.
The outdated structure no longer meets current highway safety standards and has been rated in “poor” condition, along with 11 other state-owned bridges in El Paso County.
Replacement plans for all 119 of those bridges around the state are listed on a new website that CDOT launched Tuesday. Click here to see the website.
Vehicle registration fees are paying for the projects, including the $4 million Black Squirrel Creek Bridge replacement.
Wilson said the upgrades will greatly improve safety. Shoulders on the bridge will grow from 2 feet to 8 feet wide, to give motorists more room and improve “the margin of error if someone swerves or pulls off to the side,” he said.
The bridge’s current vertical clearance of 15 feet, 9 inches, will increase to 16 feet, 6 inches.
Two 12-foot traffic lanes also will be built for the 6,500 to 8,500 vehicles that use the bridge each day. The work will take about a year.
Before a new bridge can be installed, crews will create a two-lane paved detour around the construction zone, Wilson said.