Public to weigh in on Brush Creek bridge design
December 14, 2011
ASPEN – The public will get a say in the design of a new bridge on the Brush Creek Trail outside Snowmass Village. The options include reuse of old sections of the former Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge or installation of a new bridge that costs about twice as much.
Pitkin County commissioners made no decision about the bridge project Tuesday but agreed that a public meeting in Snowmass Village should occur to provide an opportunity for public input. No date for that meeting is set; it will probably take place in January.
Until now, the trail has made use of a box culvert serving a driveway on private property at the lower creek crossing in the Brush Creek Valley. That arrangement was temporary, and the county must now install its own span to carry the trail over Brush Creek and adjacent wetlands.
“We need to put our own bridge up. The question is, what will the design look like?” said Dale Will, county Open Space and Trails director, during Tuesday’s joint meeting between commissioners and the Open Space and Trails board of trustees.
Using two sections of the old Maroon Creek bridge, which formerly accommodated pedestrian and bike traffic next to state Highway 82 before a new highway bridge over Maroon Creek was built, would cost an estimated $291,119. A new, prefabricated span would cost an estimated $610,739.
“At that length, bridges sort of become exponentially more expensive,” Will said.
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The old, boxlike Maroon Creek span has sides that are 10 feet high. A new span would have 8-foot sides, with the deck set above the bottom of the bridge frame.
Commissioner Jack Hatfield, viewing renderings of both designs set at the site, questioned why the new bridge wouldn’t more closely resemble the bridge already built along the trail at an upper creek crossing, closer to Snowmass Village. The town helped pay for that bridge because town officials didn’t want part of the old Maroon Creek bridge used there. It wasn’t considered aesthetically acceptable.
The proposed new bridge at the lower crossing is actually quite similar to the upper bridge, but it looks beefier because the span is longer, according to Gary Tennenbaum, Open Space and Trails land steward.
The renderings will be available to the public for review.
The Brush Creek Trail, constructed in 2006, is currently closed for the winter to accommodate wildlife migration.
Open space officials hope to have a decision on the bridge by mid-February so installation can occur in April. No work can take place before the trail reopens on April 1.