The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

End of the road for the Green Bridge

Colorado Department of Transportation staff, county representatives and supporters of the Green Bridge on Highway 24 between Falcon and Peyton met twice in December to figure out a way to save the bridge from demolition, which is scheduled in January.Regardless which option was considered, all were unworkable or too costly. Among them:

  • Storing the bridge in CDOT’s right-of-way until a use could be found ñ nixed because CDOT’s right-of-way is too small to accommodate the bridge and the detour that’s already under construction.
  • Moving the Green Bridge in pieces to the county’s road maintenance yard in Peyton until a use could be found ñ nixed because no one wanted to spend $115,000 with no guarantee the bridge would ever be used.
  • Putting the Green Bridge on the Rock Island Trail in place of the pedestrian bridge that’s already there – nixed because of cost.
Desiree Schultz, whose November presentation before the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners prompted the meetings, said she hoped replacing the Rock Island Trail’s pedestrian bridge would be the most cost effective. This plan would keep the bridge near its original location, where it could still be seen and appreciated, Schultz said.Replacing the pedestrian bridge with the Green Bridge could cost as much as $600,000, based on the research the city of Fountain did after expressing interest in adopting the bridge, said CDOT’s resident engineer, Mark Andrew.The bridge would have to be redesigned and certified by a structural engineer. Actual work would include building new abutments, taking the bridge down, replacing corroded gusset plates, narrowing the bridge, mitigating for lead-based paint and reassembling the bridge, he said.Getting grant money to replace a working bridge would be difficult, too, said the stateís historic preservation officer, Amy Pallante.County engineer Andre Brackin said he doubted the Green Bridge could ever be re-used as a load-bearing structure. Once disassembled, some parts would be unusable and would have to be custom-fabricated at an exorbitant cost.ìI think the only real utility is to preserve it as a monument or a museum piece,î Brackin said.He suggested asking landowners on both sides of the bridge to dedicate land where the bridge could be set and viewed but not used. Brackin also offered to contact Fort Carson’s bridge unit, which has performed community service work in the past for training projects.The idea might have been feasible if the bridge weren’t scheduled for demolition in January.The demolition contractor, Lawrence Construction, could be willing to shut down for a short while, but CDOT does not want to pay delay penalties, Andrew said.ìI wish as a community we had known sooner and had more time,î Schultz said.Lisa Schoch, CDOT’s senior historian, said she sent an eligibility and effects letter to the El Paso County Planning Commission more than a year ago but did not receive a response.The bridge is 150-feet long and will weigh 180 tons once the concrete deck is removed.To move it in one piece would require two heavy cranes, and the process must be completed in two ìpicks,î which means each crane would have to be set up twice, further increasing costs and potentially requiring closing Highway 24 for two days, Andrew said.He estimated it would cost $200,000 to implement Brackin’s idea of turning the bridge into a monument, which would also mean building new abutments, moving the bridge and mitigating lead paint.The most CDOT could contribute toward any plan to save the bridge would be $10,000, Andrew said.At the group’s second meeting Dec. 15, Andrew said Brackin told him that morning that the county was unwilling to spend any money on the bridge, unless the county could get some type of grant. ìYou’d have to cobble together a lot of grants,î Pallante said.The prospects for cobbling appeared grim.The county only gets about $100,000 in federal enhancement money a year, and federal enhancement funding is uncertain, Andrew said. Stabilizing the bridge as a monument wouldn’t score well for enhancement funding because the bridge isn’t being incorporated into a transportation project like a bike path, said Schoch.Similarly, Pallante said turning the bridge into a monument would not be supported by the Colorado State Historical Fund, nor would the project qualify for a certified local government grant because El Paso County does not participate in the state’s CLG program.Great Outdoors Colorado was not interested in Fountain’s effort to relocate the bridge as a pedestrian bridge, but they could be approached again, said Jason Meyer, park planner for the county’s community services department.Finally, Andrew proposed a granite monument on the Rock Island Trail with an etched picture of the bridge and its original 1935 plaques, along with incorporating pieces salvaged from the bridge. ìWe could maybe do that for around $10,000,î he said, adding that the county would need to maintain the monument.Meyer suggested the inclusion of an interpretive panel describing the area’s rich history as an agricultural area.Schultz thanked CDOT staff for trying to find a way to save the bridge.The reality is that re-using historic bridges is more complex and costly than anyone expects, Schoch said.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers