CDOT is confident that Garfield County’s bridges are safe
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, said 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 50 it is determined to be in need of some work, but that does not mean that the bridge is “unstable,” Elsen said.”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 annually on bridge replacement and major reconstruction projects statewide. The agency is responsible for 3,757 bridges and of those, 110 are in need of replacement and 375 are in need of rehabilitation.Contact John Gardner: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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