North half of 1934 bridge removed for WAAP; south half still carrying traffic
The bridge's southern half is being temporarily retained to allow one lane of traffic each way during the construction of WAAP's new Adams Crossing Bridge. That work will continue through the winter, according to Dennis Barron, WAAP project manager for El Paso County.
The new span will be a featured part of the $30.9 million, multi-government WAAP project, which is extensively rebuilding 1˝ miles of the avenue west of 31st Street.
For the demolition, WAAP contractor Wildcat Construction scraped off the old pavement and concrete on top of the four girders.
After that, Wildcat workers - a few of them wearing hip waders in the 2-foot-deep creek - dislodged the beams at either end and melted apart their crossmembers with cutting torches. This eliminated the girders' attachments to each other, so that each could be pulled out separately by a large crane - although the first girder needed a final kick by a Wildcat worker to finally break free of its hold on the creek bank.
Each girder measured more than 60 feet in length and weighed about 1,000 pounds, workers explained.
According to Barron, the old bridge's full width was just under 48 feet. The demolished north “half” actually measures out to 19 feet, leaving about 29 feet for the temporarily retained south “half.”
The new Adams Crossing bridge is designed to be 60 feet wide and have sidewalks on both sides, stone-like pillars and walls and historically styled lighting. Midland Trail users will be able to cross underneath, on a raised space next to the creek.
According to plans, the new bridge will be built just north of the remaining half of the old one. To make room for the new span's 60-foot width, the project is buying about an acre from the Garden of the Gods RV Resort. This will also allow 1,000 feet of the creek to be aligned for the bridge and a relocation of the roadway slightly to the north. The deal also will include a widening of Columbia.
After the new bridge is built - Wildcat is shooting for April - the southern half of the 1934 structure is to be demolished as well. Adams Crossing is the historic name for the area around the bridge.
Other work in the coming months will continue to focus on the roadway between the bridge and the Manitou interchange, Barron said. Work includes utility replacements and stormwater drain installations. Traffic will continue to be reduced frequently to one lane, controlled by a flagger.
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