The town of Mancos has set a date to begin replacing its historic but deteriorating Main Street Bridge.
Built in 1912 after the most damaging flood the town had seen, the bridge is still the primary connection between the north and south sides of town. According to news release, an estimated 750 cars and trucks traverse it daily. Studies by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the town’s engineering firm determined that the bridge needed to be replaced because of deteriorating concrete in the deck soffit and girders. There are also spalls with exposed rebar in the exterior bays of the deck totaling roughly 45 feet.
The town decided it could not wait any longer to replace it, seeing as the structural integrity of the bridge will only get worse. The permitting and funding process began in 2015. The replacement process will finally begin in April.
“We have to do it,” said Mancos Town Administrator Heather Alvarez. “The bridge has been deteriorating for several years now, and the most recent bridge inspection just shows that it needs to be replaced immediately.”
Despite the bridges vehicle weight limit being 42.5 tons, many much heavier vehicles use it. There also is the issue of pedestrian safety. While the bridge has two lanes, it is narrow and has no sidewalks. People crossing it on bikes or on foot are competing with motor traffic.
The town will attempt to create a safe, modern bridge while maintaining Mancos’ historical roots.
The new bridge will be brought to current load and rating standards and will include a conduit for fiber optic. It will allow for two lanes and two sidewalks for safe pedestrian crossing. To withstand a major flood, the bridge will be 10 feet longer, and the riverbed will be improved.
The concrete sides will resemble the bricks from the historic bank building across the street, and it will still incorporate the iconic 1912 stamp from the current bridge.
Mancos is in the bidding process for construction.
The project is estimated to cost over $1 million. A large portion of the costs will be offset by a $1 million grant from CDOT and $193,000 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
According to Alvarez, the town will contribute “several hundred thousand dollars” to the project. The exact number cannot be confirmed until the town has received all the bids for construction.
There will be some noise and detours during the week, though the process will not block public access to businesses.
The town will hold a public question-and-answer session before construction begins to address residents’ concerns.