Bridging history is costly

Officials in Fruita are discovering that the cost of historic preservation can be much greater than anticipated.

That appears to be occurring with an old one-lane bridge across the Colorado River at Fruita, which people in that city have been trying to restore for pedestrian and bicycle use for years.

The latest obstacles to that restoration effort include notice from the Colorado Historical Society that $200,000 in historic preservation money for the bridge may not be forthcoming if the city relies too heavily on modern construction techniques to stabilize the bridge. In addition, city engineers have determined that securing the ends of the bridge will be more costly because of the type of rock beneath it.

Several years ago, this newspaper noted that not every old structure is worth preserving, and suggested the Fruita bridge might fall into that category. Some Fruita residents were angered by that suggestion, but the dream of using that bridge as a pedestrian access across the river is little further along today than it was then. Soon, Fruita officials will have to determine whether continuing that effort is really worth it.


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