ARVADA, Colo. — A retired Arvada couple is under the gun to remove a rotting bridge, which spans Church Ditch, just off W. 80th Avenue and Simms Street.
The city of Northglenn, a partial owner of the ditch, had earlier cited Marlene Beeler for failing to remove or repair the bridge, which supplies water to almost 300,000 people during irrigation season.
"We just want to make sure that we're not stuck in a situation where all of a sudden that bridge collapses and we cannot provide water to the other municipalities and users along the ditch," said Tamara Moon, president of the Church Ditch Water Authority.
Beeler reached a plea agreement in August, admitting guilt in exchange for a deferred judgment and an assurance that she would find alternative access and a way to pay for it within 90 days. She said she took the plea deal thinking that her neighbor to the south would let her and her husband, Luciano, use her bridge to access their property.
Beeler said that neighbor changed her mind.
"I was stressed out," she said. "We can't afford to pay for a new bridge. We're on a fixed income."
Now, there is hopeful news from the north.
"We have a new neighbor there," Beeler said. "He and I are going to share a bridge. He's going to pay for half and we're going to pay for half."
Beeler said she has obtained a grant from the Jefferson County Housing Authority that will help her pay for her half.
Moon said the ditch company has agreed to build the concrete foundation, and that Beeler and her neighbor just have to pay for the deck, which will cost a little over $17,000.
"It's a win-win for everyone," Moon said. "The neighbor gets a new bridge, the couple gets an easement and a safer bridge to cross over, and the ditch company gets rid of a bridge that was a concern."
But Moon said there could be a snag in the agreement.
She said Beeler failed to appear for a November court date, and now the prosecutor has filed a motion to rescind the deferred judgment.
Beeler is due back in court on Wednesday and will learn what the judge rules.