New walking bridge in Minturn will be celebrated Monday |

New walking bridge in Minturn will be celebrated Monday

Bridge completes important segment of Eagle Valley Trail

A new pedestrian bridge across the Eagle River at Minturn will open to the public Monday, Aug. 16.
Eagle River Water & Sanitation District/special to the Daily

The newly completed pedestrian bridge in Minturn will mark its official opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Aug. 16. The public is welcome to attend.

The bridge is near the intersection of U.S. Highway 24 and County Road on the north end of Minturn, just downstream of the County Road vehicle bridge.

This new bridge improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists and extends the Eagle Valley Trail system. One community benefit that will likely go unnoticed by pedestrians is the new sewer main beneath their feet.

The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District began work to replace the aging sewer main crossing the Eagle River about a year ago. The pipeline is part of a system that collects wastewater from the town of Minturn and sends it to the district’s wastewater treatment facility in Avon, where cleaned water is then returned to the Eagle River.

All of Minturn’s wastewater flow is conveyed through this section of sewer main, but at more than 50 years old, the old main had reached the end of its useful life.

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The old aerial crossing could be a hazard to river users during high water conditions due to its low clearance. This also made the pipeline susceptible to high water events; the center pier was severely scoured and weakened, and the steel pipeline exhibited severe corrosion that put it at risk of failing. The former pipeline’s capacity was also insufficient to serve future growth projections for the town.

During the early phases of project design, the district team realized that this necessary sewer upgrade could be part of something even more beneficial to the community. The new pipeline required construction of a new utility bridge to support it across the river; a total cost of $1.6 million.

A cost analysis by the district’s design team, HDR, revealed that installing a 12-foot-wide pedestrian/bicycling bridge would cost $100,000 more than the needed 6-foot wide utility bridge. District staff reached out and the town of Minturn and ECO Trails agreed to split the added cost to achieve a goal of extending the regional trail system to Minturn. ECO Trails later contributed an additional $41,000 for more asphalt and railing to enable the bridge to open to the public.

The partnership between the district, town, and ECO Trails allowed multiple projects to occur simultaneously, which reduced construction impacts and best leveraged public funds. The district plans to continue these partnerships on future construction projects. This project is just one part of multi-year wastewater infrastructure improvement efforts in the Dowd Junction area that span from the County Road bridge to the Gore Valley Trail bridge.

ECO Trails and the district are currently working on designs that will add a critical segment toward Minturn from the Gore Valley Trail bridge.

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