Aging Avon walkway torn down
An old pedestrian bridge in Avon declared by town officials as dangerous and unsafe will be demolished despite pleas from residents to save it.
“The bridge is a hazard, and the town has a civic duty to step in and do something,” said Norm Wood, Avon town engineer. “The last thing we want to happen is for a child to wander off and hurt himself on the bridge.”
But some Avon residents say they want to refurbish the old structure – between U.S. Highway 6 and Sunridge Phase I condominiums, behind Agave restaurant – because of its history to the town.
However, town officials say the dilapidated structure is a safety hazard that the town really doesn’t want to fix.
“We’re not interested in remedying the bridge because it is a safety hazard,” said Larry Brooks, Avon town manager. “We would have to demolish the structure, obtain the land and then replace it.”
The bridge and surrounding land are privately owned, but the owners did not comply with an order from the town’s building official to demolish it, Brooks said.
“Because the owner has not responded, the town will incur the cost of the bridge removal,” Wood said. “If we cannot recover our costs back from the owners, the property will be acquired by the town through a lien foreclosure process.”
Residents asked the Town Council recently to not take any action on the bridge, but to survey it and make efforts to save it.
In a letter to the Town Council, Avon resident Walter Dandy said, “I am not asking, at this time, that we restore the bridge. I am asking that we spend a little more time deciding if immediate destruction is the most judicious course.”
Other residents asked the town consider abating the hazard more cheaply –by blocking the bridge with fencing and signing – restoring the bridge and putting a lien on the property for a greater value. Residents also suggested seeking partners, such as ECO Transit and the Great Outdoors Colorado to restore the bridge.
But council members said the bridge was too far gone to survey it, and the best course of action was to tear it down, which will cost $24,757.
“The bridge and corridor definitely serves a purpose,” Brooks said. “But the bridge doesn’t have any historic implications. It’s funny. It’s not actually a bridge. The frames are two railroad cars pulled together.”
The bridge is about 30 to 40 years old, Brooks said, and it doesn’t comply with the town’s safety regulations.
“It’s easier to take the frame of the railroad car and get it out of there for a quick and easy fix,” Brooks said. “The town became involved because it’s a safety hazard.”
Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.