New, old bridge slated for Brush Creek Trail

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

ASPEN – The final remaining pieces of the old Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge are slated for placement in the lower Brush Creek Valley this year.

Gary Tennenbaum, stewardship and trails manager for Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, said he planned to issue a request for proposals Thursday from contractors interested in erecting the span. The estimated cost of installing the bridge on the Brush Creek Trail is $290,000. Though Open Space and Trails already owns the bridge, the pieces must be reassembled, a new concrete deck poured and the paved trail rerouted over it.

Installation of a new span to cross wetlands and Brush Creek at the northern end of the valley was to be done last year. The county at that time debated reuse of the Maroon Creek bridge pieces versus placement of a new, prefabricated bridge, but the project was put off when a private landowner agreed to let the county leave the trail on its existing route for another season. The trail currently crosses Brush Creek using a box culvert that also serves a private driveway.

The planned bridge will take the trail off private property, carrying it about 168 feet across the creek and wetlands near the Cozy Point South open space. The site is near the Highway 82 end of the Brush Creek Valley.

The trail reopens for use April 1, but installation of the bridge likely will require a trail closure and rerouting users onto the road until work is finished, Tennenbaum said.

“Hopefully we can get it done by the busy season, sometime in June,” he said.

The Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge – a railroad-style span – used to cross the Maroon Creek gorge next to Highway 82 before the installation of a new highway bridge that includes a bike/pedestrian lane.

Part of the dismantled bridge was considered for an upper trail crossing of Brush Creek, near the town of Snowmass Village, but town officials weren’t enthused about the aesthetics of the used bridge and chipped in half of the cost of a new, prefabricated one.

The town indicated that it would prefer a prefabricated bridge in the lower valley, too, but didn’t offer to help pay for it. Such a span would increase the price by more than $300,000 over the cost of using pieces of the old Maroon Creek bridge, Tennenbaum said.

The box-style, steel-frame bridge won’t be highly noticeable, particularly in the summer when vegetation is full, he added.

“It’s not in a place that’s going to be highly visible from either Highway 82 or Brush Creek Road,” Tennenbaum said.

The pieces of the old bridge are sitting in storage in Carbondale. Basalt previously found a use for four segments of the former Maroon Creek bridge, installing them on a bike/pedestrian trail across the Roaring Fork River at Emma.