DOTSERO, Colo. (CBS4)– The Colorado Department of Transportation is giving away a highway bridge but there are some strings attached.
The bridge carries traffic on the Interstate 70 frontage road over the Colorado River in Dotsero. The 150 feet long and 33 feet wide bridge is more than 75 years old and needs to be replaced.
“It’s at its end of life, basically,” said CDOT Bridge Engineer Peter Lombardi.
While the bridge itself is free, there are some complicated and complex logistics attached to the deal. There is the cost of disassembling the bridge and moving it. CDOT said there really isn’t a way to get the bridge out in one piece.
“It’s not imminent or at risk for anything to happen but we’re constantly going through lists on bridges they’re constantly being inspected and re-shuffled so this is a bridge that came up online through that list process,” said Lombardi.
A new bridge will be built later this summer thanks to FASTER funding. The new structure will be a taller, wider bridge between where the old one sits and I-70.
“It’ll go up higher so we’ll have more room for the river,” said Lombardi.
Last year, the Colorado River rose so high that it became close to flooding the bridge.
The bridge has been a lifeline for Bill Stephens and his blooming nursery business.
“They’re ready to go in the spring when they close the bridge. It adds about 10 miles to our travel. You have to go the wrong way,” said Stephens.
The I-70 on and off ramps in Dotsero sit on either side of the river. When the bridge is closed that will create a long detour for traffic.
Locals hope the bridge can live on in another location.
“Our hope is that it will be adopted one way or another,” said Stephens.
CDOT said they have had interest from private land owners who need a bridge to cross water on their property or they’re hoping another municipality will need it for a recreation path.