Snowmass makes offer on pedestrian bridges |

Snowmass makes offer on pedestrian bridges

John Colson

A compromise is before Pitkin County regarding a disagreement over what kind of bridge should grace a pedestrian trail at the entrance to Snowmass Village. At issue is the county Open Space and Trails Board’s proposal to use pieces of the old Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge on segments of a trail up Brush Creek.The Snowmass Town Council recently concluded that a railroad-style bridge was not the kind of look the town wants to greet visitors.The county is planning to spend $3 million this summer to build a trail from Highway 82 up the Brush Creek Valley to a junction with an existing village-built trail. The plan includes a proposal to save money by recycling the old Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge for two crossings of the creek.The old pedestrian bridge, which for nearly a decade spanned Maroon Creek next to the historic highway bridge on Highway 82, was taken out recently to make room for a new, four-lane highway bridge now under construction.The old bridge consists of steel girders to resemble a railroad trestle and look like the highway bridge, which was originally used by the Midland Railroad to carry freight and passengers in and out of Aspen.A letter dated March 21 from Snowmass Mayor Doug Mercatoris stated that while the town “is very appreciative” of the county’s efforts to build the trail this summer, the recycled Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge is not “appropriate” for use at the upper end of the new trail.The county’s response, according to Mercatoris and Open Space and Trails Director Dale Will, was to go ahead with plans to use the recycled bridge span anyway unless the town agreed to pay the $180,000 estimated cost for new bridges.Mercatoris, reached by phone on Tuesday, said the Town Council agreed to share the cost of a new bridge for the upper crossing during a meeting Monday night with Open Space and Trails official Gary Tennenbaum.The council, he said, agreed to pay half the difference between installing the “recycled” bridge segment at the upper crossing and putting in a new bridge of a different design, meaning the town is willing to pay $90,000 to get a bridge it likes. He said no specific design had been discussed.As for the lower crossing, Mercatoris said, “We have no problem with them putting that one [a recycled bridge segment] there,” but the council “didn’t feel that bridge is aesthetically correct for the ranching heritage … of the upper valley.”The lower of the proposed Brush Creek crossings is on the Cozy Point South property close to the interchange of Brush Creek Road and Highway 82, and the upper is near the Rodeo Grounds and the Snowmass Village sign along Brush Creek Road near the entrance to the village.He said Snowmass Village will send a letter to the Pitkin County commissioners to describe the discussion and conclusions of Monday’s meeting, and that “the ball is in their court now.”John Colson’s e-mail address is

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