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Bridge lights bothering some

Veronica Whitney Daily Staff Writer
Vail Daily/Bret HartmanA car passes over the newly built Miller Ranch Road Bridge Thursday night. Local residents are complaining about the blue lights that light the bridge.
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“I saw the blue neon lights from a distance when driving east on Highway 6 just shortly after the bridge on Miller Ranch Road was opened and found them quite jarring,” Trout, who lives in Edwards, wrote in an e-mail to the county’s engineering department. “Can white lights be installed in lieu of the blue?”-

But Devon Alexander of Avon says she was pleasantly surprised by the new design.



“When I first saw the bridge lights I couldn’t believe that Eagle County would have built such an architecturally progressive design (design awards anyone?),” Alexander said in her e-mail. “And no sooner than they were lit, lo’ and behold, I hear that some naysayers don’t like them.”

The new $4-million bridge, which opened to traffic on Jan. 9, replaced the old Cemetery Road Bridge that Eagle County closed in 2001 due to safety problems. Eagle County engineer Helen Migchelbrink said designers were trying to be innovative with the blue lights.



“Instead of the standard yellow street lights that are usually installed along roadways, Eagle County decided to try something new on the Miller Ranch Road Bridge,” says Migchelbrink. Inside the copper domes on top of each of the eight stone columns flanking the bridge are blue neon lights.-

Although Migchelbrink says she has received only two complaints about the lights, the county is requesting public comment on them.

“It’s definitely downcast light,” Migchelbrink says. “The intention was to light the pedestrian walkways on both sides of the bridge.”-



The designer of the bridge, Boulder-based Loris and Associates, used the lights to accentuate the architectural qualities of the bridge while providing safer access for pedestrians who walk across the bridge at night, Migchelbrink says.

“If the lights had been sodium or white, no such comments would have been garnered,” Alexander says. “In a world awash in a sea of beige stucco, I say long live the blue lights!”-

Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad says it would cost about $8,000 to change the lights back to a more-standard design.

“The question is if the community is ready for them,” Ingstad says. “It’s a more futuristic type of light. Some people like it, some don’t.”

The new bridge across the Eagle River, aimed at alleviating traffic congestion, extends Miller Ranch Road from the Edwards Spur Road to U.S. Highway. 6. The bridge is part of the Berry Creek project, a public-private development in Edwards that includes affordable housing, a daycare center, a new Colorado Mountain College campus, recreation fields, a pond and a high school in a neighborhood setting. While owners have moved into some of the homes, most of the Berry Creek project is still under construction.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.

Public input

Eagle County is requesting public comment regarding the lights on the new Miller Ranch bridge in Edwards. Residents can write, call or e-mail the county Engineering Department with thoughts at the following address: Miller Ranch Bridge Lights, Eagle County Engineering, P.O. Box 850, Eagle, CO. 81631; 328-3560; or bridgelights@eaglecounty.us


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