Construction of new bridge starts in Edwards
Eagle County this week began construction on a new bridge across the Eagle River that will help alleviate traffic congestion in Edwards, county officials said.
The Miller Ranch Road Bridge, which will replace the Cemetery Bridge built in the early 1900s, is scheduled for completion in December. It will extend Miller Ranch Road from the Spur Road across the Eagle River to U.S. Highway 6.
“The new bridge will alleviate congestion, and will provide an alternate route for people wishing to go to Highway 6,” said Eagle County Engineer Helen Migchelbrink. “For example, people from Singletree can come down Winslow Road directly into Highway 6, instead of going over to the main intersection in town.”
The total cost of the bridge replacement and related improvements is $4 million. The county received a grant from the Federal Highway Administration that covers 80 percent of the cost.
“The new bridge responds to the growth in the Edwards area over the past decade,” Migchelbrink said. “Cemetery Bridge is old and functionally obsolete.”
Two years ago, the county closed Cemetery Bridge to through traffic because of safety concerns.
“The old bridge had the lowest sufficiency rating of any bridge in the county and was not wide enough to accommodate two-way vehicular traffic, pedestrians or cyclists,” Migchelbrink said.
It also wasn’t high enough to allow floods to pass underneath, she said.
Miller Ranch Rd. Bridge will be about 30 feet higher than the old Cemetery Bridge.
“Combined with the new Miller Ranch Road, it is designed with pedestrian and bicycle safety in mind,” Migchelbrink said.
The road and bridge will have 10-foot-wide concrete sidewalks on both sides, which will provide a wide berth for pedestrians and cyclists traveling from the regional bicycle trail terminus just north of the railroad tracks to the intersection of Highway 6 with Miller Ranch Road.
“The bridge project also includes improvements to Highway 6,” she said. “The county will add turn lanes, acceleration and deceleration lanes and a traffic signal at the intersection of Miller Ranch Road and Highway 6.”
Eagle County has entered into a partnership and contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation, which will administer the bridge construction.
The new bridge is part of the Berry Creek project, which includes the Colorado Mountain College Vail-Eagle Valley campus; recreational and soccer fields that already have been built, 282 affordable-housing units and a new high school.
“We’ve been envisioning the bridge since 2000 as the final transportation link to the Berry Creek area,” Migchelbrink said.
The old Cemetery Bridge will remain in place throughout construction to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians, but will be removed when the new bridge is complete.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.