Project Update: Historic Bridges of Colorado

Review of Historic Bridges of Colorado Underway

Rabbit Valley, Mesa County, photo courtesy of Kevin Strong, CBS4

Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) statewide nomination of Historic Bridges of Colorado led to Colorado Preservation, Inc. successfully listing this group of bridges on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in early 2021.

WPA bridge sign close-up, photo courtesy of Kevin Strong, CBS4

The Endangered Places designation is the first step in the review process that will culminate in up to 20 high-priority historic bridges selected by CDOT for possible preservation. The 46 “on-system” (CDOT owned and located on State or Federal highway) bridges under review range in construction date from 1888 to 1973, and span the breadth of Colorado’s bridge development, evolving from early timber structures and steel bridges to the use of more standardized designs using pre-stressed concrete. During Phase I of the project, before Colorado’s Most Endangered Places listing, 132 National Register Listed and Eligible bridges were initially reviewed to set the stage for the current Phase II effort.

Steel truss looking up, photo courtesy of Kevin Strong, CBS4

More than 30 CDOT staff is carrying out the review, with Colorado Preservation, Inc. and State Historic Preservation Office assistance, and Mead & Hunt consultants facilitating. The effort involves substantial assessment by both CDOT historians and engineers to ensure that a representative geographical and stylistic subset of bridges for possible preservation is developed, and that CDOT can feasibly rehabilitate the bridges in question. The goal is to heighten awareness about the significance of these historic bridges and their contributions to our state’s heritage, along with developing partnerships with local communities and other organizations for funding and support for bridge preservation.

For information, contact Lisa Schoch at CDOT or Kim Grant at Colorado Preservation, Inc.

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Preservation for a Changing Colorado

Historic preservation has a direct economic benefit to communities and Colorado! Take a look at the 2017 study, which considered the ways adaption of historic places has a direct financial effect on the state.

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