Satank Bridge gets `endangered’ listing |

Satank Bridge gets `endangered’ listing

Colorado Preservation Inc. will announce today that the century-old Satank Bridge near Carbondale is named to its 2003 list of Colorado’s “most endangered places.”

The listing of the five most endangered places will be announced at a luncheon in Denver as part of the Saving Places conference hosted by Colorado Preservation Inc.

“We’re very pleased,” said John Hoffmann, who is helping to spearhead the Satank Bridge project through the Carbondale Trails Committee. “This is really encouraging.”

Pat Holcomb, a technical advisor for the Colorado State Historical Society, said the designation could help the Carbondale Trails Committee land restoration grants from the society and other agencies.

“This is exactly the kind of the project the historical society is looking for,” said Holcomb, who worked with Trails Committee through the CPI nomination process.

The 102-year-old Satank Bridge, which crosses the Roaring Fork River northwest of Carbondale, is a 100-foot steel and timber bridge that Garfield County closed to vehicular traffic for safety reasons in the mid-1980s.

Last year, the Trails Committee started work to rehabilitate the one-lane bridge for nonmotorized use. The committee estimated the cost to restore the bridge at $400,000.

In December, the committee and town of Carbondale received a $9,000 state grant to assess the bridge’s condition and make restoration recommendations.

The Trails Committee is racing against time to save the bridge. “The bridge’s life expectancy is less than three years,” said CPI spokesperson Nancy Soloman.

Hoffmann said the upcoming assessment will reveal how badly the metal support components have rusted away. It will also evaluate the condition of the original iron pins that hold the gangly structure together, and the degree to which the north and south abutments must be rebuilt.

Still, Hoffmann is optimistic the Satank Bridge will be saved. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to walk across it in a year. I see this as the last chance to do this job.”

The Satank Bridge joins an elite list of historic projects that have made the CPI’s most endangered places list.

Other preservation projects added to the list this year are the Hutchinson homestead and ranch in Chaffee County, the Kit Carson Hotel and Elks Lodge in LaJunta, the City Ditch in Denver, Douglas and Arapaho counties, and Native American forest wickiup and teepee sites around the state.

Holcomb said 51 preservation experts reviewed this year’s 50 endangered places nominations, filtering them through a complex set of criteria.

“The two most important things are the level of historical significance, and level of endangerment,” Holcomb said.

In its research, CPI determined the Satank Bridge is one of Colorado’s oldest bridges, and the longest-span timber-truss bridge in the state.

Holcomb said being named to the most endangered list should help the Satank Bridge project in several ways. First, the list builds visibility for projects that can attract donations and other forms of support. Colorado Preservation Inc. provides other support, and can help groups apply to various funding sources. The exposure from the list also builds awareness and potential support from around the state.

“People around Colorado are already excited about the Satank Bridge,” Holcomb said.

A big payoff would be a grant from the Colorado Historical Fund, which is administered by the Colorado Historical Society. Holcomb said the fund receives 28 percent of the state revenues generated by limited stakes gambling.

Those revenues amount to $20 million per year. “And that revenue continues to go up,” Holcomb said. “A good number of projects on the endangered list have been funded by the state historical fund.”

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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