The Palmer Lake Restoration Committee saw one of its dreams come true on the morning of Jan. 7, when the base structure of the pedestrian bridge, which has taken the nonprofit organization years of fundraising and planning, was installed.

The pedestrian bridge is located across the street from O’Malley’s Steak Pub and, when completed, will allow safe passage for pedestrians over the train tracks from Highway 105 to the areas surrounding Palmer Lake. This means people will no longer have to cross the railroad tracks or take a longer way around.

“After years of working with Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, after weather delays, railroad personnel changes, design changes, material changes and budget changes, it’s finally here,” said Bonnie Tinker, an Awake Palmer Lake board member.

The structural base of the bridge was constructed by Big R at an off-site facility and delivered to the job site. After making adjustments, project manager Eric Petrie of Sema Construction gave a green light for the Jan. 7 installation, Tinker said.

While the bridge project achieved a major milestone, the work and fundraising efforts aren’t quite over.

Tinker said the restoration committee has organized countless fundraisers to help with the cost of the pedestrian bridge, but more work needs to be done. The contractors for the project must still pour the concrete walkway across the base, which is a weather-dependent task. This portion of the project is expected to happen soon, however.

Final dirt work also needs to be done and will require hauling approximately 12,000 additional cubic yards of dirt to the site. Lastly, both sides of the bridge will be landscaped. Awake Palmer Lake coordinators expect the bridge to be open to foot traffic around the end of January. However, landscaping may not be completed until later.

The bridge project is funded in part by a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, Awake Palmer Lake fundraising, the Town of Palmer Lake and private donors. Fundraising efforts for the restoration committee’s portion of the project continue, seeking another $80,000 to $100,000 over and above the GOCO grant. This will fund the dirt work and landscaping.

In lieu of additional funding, the committee offers a program to decorate the bridge with multiple levels of sponsorship of metalworks shaped like locomotive engines, cabooses, storage cars or a section thereof to be added to the bridge structure. Jodi Bliss of Bliss Studio & Gallery in Monument is working with the committee to manufacture the sponsorship metalworks.

The committee has received 10 sponsorships as of last week. Space for sponsorship is limited. More information is available at the committee’s website awakepalmerlake.org.

Although the project has not yet received its GOCO funds, the monies are expected to be received before the completion of the bridge.

The committee’s fundraising efforts have included a .5K run event, a TRY-Athlon, a Taste of Palmer Lake and the work of volunteers and patrons. The .5K and TRY-Athlon are planned to become annual events.

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