Historic Carbondale bridge considered for overhaul, possible reopening
December 13, 2009
CARBONDALE – The old “Pink Bridge” across the Roaring Fork River, next to the unincorporated neighborhood of Satank near Carbondale, appears to be headed for an overhaul.
The Garfield County commissioners on Monday will be asked to give their blessing to a project meant to bring the 110-year old bridge back to life, after being closed to traffic for years.
According to documents submitted by assistant county engineer Jeff Nelson, the project is to cost around $595,000, which would include removal and resetting of the bridge after repairs are made to the wooden structure and to the bridge abutments. The project is to be completed by July 2010, according to county documents.
Nelson, in a memo to Commissioner John Martin, wrote that a Colorado Historical Society grant of $297,500 will pay for half of the project, and local matching funds are to pay for the other half.
Officials are not certain how the local match will be accomplished.
In Nelson’s memo to Martin he stated, “Funding for the project has been a joint partnership between the Colorado Historical Society and Garfield County.”
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According to Nelson, the bridge was built in 1900 by a firm known as the Pueblo Bridge Company, at a cost of $2,335.
Due to severe deterioration, it was closed to vehicular traffic in 1994, and to pedestrian traffic in 2003.
Carbondale Trustee John Hoffman and a group of preservationists have been agitating for years to attract attention and funding for restoration of the bridge, which reportedly is the last of its kind in Colorado.
Known to many as the Pink Bridge, it once was painted a dark shade of pink, but the paint has largely been worn off by the elements.
Nelson called it “the only standing Platte through truss bridge in the state,” adding that it is recognized by the state’s historical guardians as in important historical resource.
“It’s an old design that doesn’t have any backup structure, so if one part fails the whole bridge would fail, which is why you don’t see them around anymore. This is the last one around that hasn’t failed yet,” Hoffman told the Post Independent last March. “The entire bridge is made out of 20 foot or less lengths of materials so it could all come in on a wagon.”
Hoffman said that the restored bridge wouldn’t be open to vehicles, but it would provide a pedestrian and bicycle route into and out of the Satank area, as well as an interpretive site, and a spot to fish from or observe boaters in the river.
At the Dec. 14 meeting, commissioners will be asked to approve a grant contract with the Colorado Historical Society and to give Nelson the go-ahead to start construction.