State OKs funding for new Maroon Creek bridge |

State OKs funding for new Maroon Creek bridge

Janet Urquhart

Construction of a new Maroon Creek bridge could be under way next spring, with Thursday’s state approval of $10.4 million to construct the span.

The Colorado Transportation Commission, meeting yesterday in Denver, approved the allocation, state Department of Transportation officials announced to cheers at a meeting of uppervalley elected officials on Thursday afternoon.

“With any luck at all, at about this time in 2006, we could be cutting a ribbon, maybe,” said Ralph Trapani, a former CDOT highway engineer who is now working on plans for the new bridge as a consultant. Trapani is deputy project manager with Parsons Transportation Group.

The design work for the new bridge is on a fast track. It began in September and will be complete by early February, when CDOT intends to seek bids for the project.

“Normally, this would take a year to design. We’re designing it in four months,” said Karen Rowe, resident engineer at CDOT’s Glenwood Springs office.

The existing bridge, originally built as a railroad trestle in 1888, carries Highway 82 in and out of Aspen. It’s deterioration has long worried local and state officials, as the highway is the only feasible route to carry traffic in and out of the resort.

The bridge’s sufficiency rating slipped to 9 out of a possible 100 when inspectors recently discovered another cracked stone pier at its base. Its rating had been 24.

For more on the plans to replace the bridge, see Friday’s Aspen Times.

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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