CDOT confident area bridges safe for drivers |

CDOT confident area bridges safe for drivers

Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Bridges are on the minds of many after a Minneapolis bridge spanning the Mississippi River collapsed, killing at least four and injuring an estimated 78, during rush hour Wednesday evening.

But the Colorado Division of Transportation is confident the state’s bridges are well maintained and that none of the bridges in Garfield County is endangering motorists.

“If there is a bridge out there that is ‘unstable’ it would be closed,” said CDOT program engineer Joe Elsen.

CDOT is required to inspect state-owned bridges every two years, according to CDOT bridge and assets management engineer Mark Nord. The bridges are categorized and rated on a scale from 1-100 with 100 being the best condition. The ratings note the bridges as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A number of variables are used to produce this rating but the main issue CDOT looks at are capacity and condition. Once a bridge reaches a rating of 50 it is determined to be in need of some work, but does not mean that the bridge is “unstable,” according to Elsen.

“At the 50 level that is really the trigger for us to say, ‘OK, it’s probably time to put this on the list for improvements,'” Elsen said.

The Minneapolis bridge was reported to have an efficiency rating of 50 at the time it collapsed. The Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs is currently rated at 47.7 and is determined to be functionally obsolete.

“When a bridge is functionally obsolete it means that the structure is no longer serving it’s purpose as efficiently as when it was first constructed,” said CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks. “It doesn’t mean that it is unstable.”

CDOT spends approximately $30 million on bridge replacement and major reconstruction projects. They are responsible for 3,757 bridges statewide and of those, 110 are in need of replacement and 375 are in need of rehabilitation.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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