ASPEN - Five separate pedestrian bridges will be installed in and around Aspen in the coming weeks.
Three are slated for Rio Grande Park, where they will span waterways that have been created by the city's Parks and Recreation Department as part of a stormwater-management project.
The Parks Department also is preparing to erect a new, 52-foot bridge over Hunter Creek as part of a trail-extension project that will connect the Rio Grande and Hunter Creek trails.
Finally, a private contractor, Mueller Construction, has been hired to install a new bridge to replace the old Bob Helm Bridge, which spans Maroon Creek in the gorge below the Highway 82 bridge over the creek. The old bridge was failing, and its replacement has been on the city's to-do list for some time, according to Austin Weiss, Aspen trails coordinator.
The cost of the Bob Helm project is $220,000. The other four bridges, ordered from Western Wood Structures, cost a total of $64,222. A city parks construction crew will install them. The pieces have been delivered; a crew is sorting them out at the Brush Creek intercept lot, Weiss said.
The abutments have already been prepared for the new Hunter Creek bridge, which will cross the creek behind the Hunter Longhouse housing complex on the northeast side of town. Though the city is constructing the bridge and trail link, Pitkin County acquired the trail easement along with the necessary funding to build the extension.
The extended trail is expected to provide an easier route into the Hunter Creek Valley for those unfamiliar with the area. Visitors will be able to start the hike from the easy-to-find Rio Grande Trail rather than search for the access point off Lone Pine Road.