Double duty for new bridge

Span links river trails, supports sewer line

With the help of a pair of cranes, workers guide a 160-foot span of the new pedestrian bridge into place on top of two piers built in the Colorado River.

Workers guide a 160-foot span of a new pedestrian bridge into place on top of two piers in the Colorado River on Thursday.

A project that will provide sewer service to Whitewater may thrill pedestrians and bicycle riders.

On Thursday crews began the process to complete a second section of a pedestrian bridge across the Colorado River at 32 Road. The bridge is being built as a way to camouflage a sewer line crossing the river. Placing the line underground would have been too costly, and Mesa County was not allowed to the attach the new line under the nearby Colorado Department of Transportation bridge, used mostly by motorists.

“We thought what a great coordination of resources and that it would have been the least expensive way to do it,” Mesa County Senior Planner Julie Constan said.

Gould Construction of Glenwood Springs is the contractor on the sewer project’s second of three phases. Sewer line already has been placed from U.S. Highway 50 to C 1/2 Road along 32 Road by Mendez Inc. of Grand Junction. Gould Construction is completing the portion of sewer line from C 1/2 Road to the Clifton Sanitation District wastewater treatment plant.

Constan said the prefabricated bridge is shipped in several pieces. On Thursday, the bridge’s middle section was put into place, and the final section will be placed next week, Constan said.

The bridge is scheduled to be finished at the beginning of April, and trails connecting the pieces should be completed by the fall.

A trail from the bridge’s south side will connect to C 1/2 Road. That can serve as a connector for bicyclists using paths by Corn Lake to access East Orchard Mesa’s Fruit Loop biking route without having to cross busy 32 Road. A trail from the bridge’s north side will run about three-fourths of a mile, dropping into an area about a quarter-mile east of 32 Road.

“I was so excited today,” Constan said Thursday while surveying the work. “I think we’re going to start seeing some comments from people who are actually seeing a structure out there. It’s nice to see it all coming together for us.”

Mark Gould Jr., vice president of operations at Gould Construction, said placing the bridge’s center piece was one of the project’s biggest challenges because of its heavy weight. Crews will lay cement on the bridge’s surface after the weather warms.

Punching the sewer line through the river’s south bank is also proving difficult because the bank is solid rock.

Although the work is challenging, Gould said it is rewarding to create a project that is functional and allows for recreation.

“We’re proud of this, for sure,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a good spot for the community.”


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