Historic Purgatoire River Bridge Available for Adoption!


The Colorado Department of Transportation is offering for adoption the National Register-eligible Purgatoire River Bridge to any person or organization interested in relocating it.  Constructed in 1937, the structure is a steel, rigid connected Camelback pony truss. It is located at milepost 6.64 on US Highway 350 over the Purgatoire River in Las Animas County. The bridge is significant as one of the state’s longest span examples of a low or camelback pony truss bridge type.

The bridge is being replaced because it does not meet current bridge design standards for roadway width and features structural deterioration, including corrosion to the gusset plates and deterioration of the concrete “doghouse” rail.  Most of the structural steel elements and most of the concrete and reinforcing steel show signs of advanced deterioration.  Given the age of the bridge, its paint does contain lead and possibly other objectionable constituents that require careful removal and containment.  If the paint or coatings will be removed or disturbed in any manner by the disassembly and re-assembly of the bridge, the recipient must adhere to all local, state, and federal laws and regulations that address worker and environmental protection. The cost of adoption varies depending on the structure but includes disassembly, relocation, and containment and disposal of the paint during the dismantling process. However, CDOT may contribute funding up to the amount anticipated for disposal of the bridge. The structure may be a good candidate for re-use as a pedestrian or recreational trail bridge.  A new deck and abutments would need to be constructed for the bridge in its new location.

Preference will be given to plans that agree to maintain the bridge in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.  Potential recipients must submit a written relocation plan detailing the proposed use and new location of the bridge as well as resources available to assure future maintenance.  Potential recipients should also state their intent to follow all environmental regulations concerning the treatment of lead-based paint on the structural steel components.  If you are interested in adopting this bridge and would like more information about CDOT’s Adopt-a-Bridge program, please contact Lisa Schoch, Senior Staff Historian, Environmental Programs Branch at Colorado Department of Transportation, at (303) 512-4258 or lisa.schoch@dot.state.co.us.

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