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Fix the unsafe Maroon Creek bridge

This letter is based on remarks I made to the Board of Pitkin County Commissioners and CDOT officials at a meeting in Aspen Tuesday and a post-meeting conversation with Ed Fink, the new CDOT regional director.

I want to express my concern and disappointment at the lack of progress in replacing the dangerously outdated Maroon Creek bridge.

Based on news reports, I believe that the structure is currently disintegrating. It represents an unpredictable, but immediate safety hazard to the lives of the roughly 25,000 people who cross it every day.



In October, the Colorado Department of Transportation unexpectedly found that the girders on the downvalley side of the 115-year-old bridge had apparently slid out of place over the years, despite supposedly regular CDOT checks on the bridge.

According to Fink, local CDOT crews failed to regularly inspect the bridge for problems and report those problems to CDOT bridge experts. That was the reason why the state bridge inspection team suddenly found a broken block and a displaced block in October.




I find that failure very disturbing.

Fink said he would make sure CDOT crews look at the bridge regularly from now on and immediately report any new damage. I can only hope he holds the local CDOT office responsible.

I call upon this board to exercise its leadership to protect the safety and economic wellbeing of the Roaring Fork Valley by forcefully demanding the state meet its obligations.

I hope state officials wake up to our safety needs before the bridge has to be closed for extended repairs, or we lose a RFTA busload of lives, or a school-busload of lives.

Bernie Grauer

Basalt


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