Rehab of existing bridge ‘not viable’ |

Rehab of existing bridge ‘not viable’

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Engineers have rejected the idea of rehabilitating the existing Grand Avenue Bridge, which was built in 1953 as a two-lane bridge.

“There are so many problems with the existing bridge,” said Craig Gaskill, project manager for Jacobs Engineering, the consultant working with CDOT on the project planning. “You’d have to replace beams, bolts, rivets, widen it, and deal with the foundation. It’s almost as much work to rehab as it would be to replace it, except when you rehab you aren’t fixing all the problems.”

The central bridge pier standing in the middle of the Colorado River also has a serious scouring problem, according to Joe Elsen, CDOT program engineer for Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle and Lake counties.

The spread footing of the pier extends about eight feet below the river bottom, where it stands on river cobble, Elsen explained. In 1992, engineers discovered that river flows had undermined part of the footing, scouring out as much as two vertical feet of cobble under parts of the footing.

CDOT filled in the scoured cavity and placed huge rocks upstream and along the footing for protection, he said. But a bridge rehab would call for drilling to bedrock to anchor the bridge on a more secure footing, he said.

And keeping traffic flowing across the bridge during construction makes the job even more complicated, Gaskill noted.

“We have ruled out a bridge rehab as a viable alternative,” Elsen said.

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