Rebuilding of Royal Gorge Bridge Park to begin this week

CANON CITY, Colo. - Work is set to begin this week to rebuild the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, which was heavily damaged by a wildfire last summer.

The Canon City Daily Record reports about 70 people, including bridge officials, city and county representatives and other invited guests, gathered last week for a groundbreaking ceremony.

Mike Bandera, vice president and general manager of the park, says buildings will start going up and fire-blackened trees will be cut down this week. The first rebuilding phase of the park will include a new 14,000-square-foot visitors center, which is scheduled to open in August, as well as a zip line across the gorge and an aerial gondola.

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park has been closed since a wildfire in June burned more than 3,000 acres in the area and destroyed 48 of the park's 52 buildings. The iconic bridge suffered minor damage.

Repairs are estimated at $25 to $40 million. Most of the costs will be covered by insurance.

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