Temporary bridges to replace washed-out spans can be erected in less than 4 days, contractor says

DENVER - The Colorado Department of Transportation picked contractors Monday to replace the roads and bridges damaged by Colorado floodwaters.

The construction companies will work on U.S. 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon, State Highway 7 between Lyons and Estes Park, State Highway 72 in Coal Creek Canyon and the highways damaged east of Interstate 25.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has called for a deadline of Dec. 1 for temporary roads and bridges to be in place to connect communities.

A temporary bridge company, Mabey Inc., has already staged temporary bridge supplies in Greeley. The company has not yet been selected as a subcontractor. Its website provides an animation of what temporary bridge construction looks like.

You can view the animation by clicking on this link: http://ch7ne.ws/1ajO0gF

"That particular bridge that's being animated there, can be built with a good-size crew -- three-to-five people on the crew -- in probably four-to-five days," said Mabey sales manager Rick Ferriera.

The animation shows the construction of a125-foot, one-lane bridge.

"If they worked around the clock, you could shorten that time up probably by 30-to-40 percent easy," said Ferriera.

A temporary bridge can appear to look like a permanent structure. The deck could be paved and the structure could last years.

"In these highway conditions, they are paved with asphalt or concrete," said Ferriera. "Typically, they're (used for) less than a two-year period, but that bridge can sit there five, eight years, whatever they need it for."

While work is done on a permanent fix next to the temporary bridge, Ferriera said drivers can likely drive faster than they might expect for a temporary road.

"On normal conditions 55 (miles per hour), 65 (miles per hour), (is) not a problem," said Ferriera.

According to Ferriera, an 80-foot, two-lane bridge would probably cost $60,000 to $70,000 annually, not including the cost of installation and the abutments on both sides of the bridge. With those costs included, it likely would be more than six figures.

CDOT has already said it will spend its entire $100 million emergency fund to repair the roads and bridges damaged by the flooding. The Federal Highway Administration has offered $35 million. Colorado's Congressional delegation has received the promise that the Federal Highway Administration's $100 million cap on emergency funding will be lifted to allow for potentially $300-to-$500 million in emergency funding.

CDOT has awarded the following temporary repair projects:

-U.S. 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon: Kiewit Infrastructure Co. of Littleton

-State Highway 7 between Lyons and Estes Park: Skanska USA Civil West of Cortez and Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction of Draper, Utah.

-State Highway 72 in Coal Creek Canyon between State Highway 93 and State Highway 119: Lawrence Construction Co. of Littleton.

-East of I-25, including northeast Colorado: Lawrence Construction Co. and URS Corporation.

-U.S. 36 is being repaired by the National Guard and CDOT.

Print this article Back to Top