Keeping ailing bridge safe, funding replacement top priorities |

Keeping ailing bridge safe, funding replacement top priorities

Much has been discussed and written lately about the Maroon Creek Bridge; I’d like to address some of the questions and concerns that have been expressed.

During the bridge inspection in October, we found structural damage on one of bridge abutments. We posted an immediate weight restriction and the damage was fully repaired.

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure the safety and serviceability of the bridge, our maintenance crews will regularly monitor the structure and make minor repairs, if necessary. The Maroon Creek Bridge is safe for travel; but what residents and commuters would like to know is, “how safe,” and rightfully so.

The bridge does need to be replaced, based on its sufficiency rating. The sufficiency rating of 24 (out of 100) is somewhat esoteric and has not been explained fully.

Bridge ratings are calculated 55 percent on structure (e.g., damage, movement); 30 percent on service and functionality (meeting the needs of 22,000-plus daily traffic); and 15 percent on essentials for public use (are there available detours).

So the rating is our indicator of which bridges on our system are not only structurally deficient but also functionally obsolete.

We’ve acknowledged that the Maroon Creek Bridge is both of these, and it is highly essential for public use.

To increase the bridge’s rating, we have to address all the factors that make up this rating.

CDOT has been working on funding the bridge’s replacement since the record of decision was reached in August 1998. I realize that people have been hearing about our budget woes repeatedly, but with a $250 million decrease in revenue this past year and uncertain economic conditions in the future, we have our hands tied.

Keeping the Maroon Creek Bridge safe and finding funding for its replacement is a top priority for CDOT. Our challenge now is to refine the bridge design work (presented at the Elected Officials Transportation Committee meeting in September) and have the design and construction funded.

CDOT is actively pursuing possible funding venues, and will continue to work together with local and federal governments in this effort. The support of the public is crucial to this endeavor.

” Ed Fink is the Region 3 director for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

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