Old bridges in Craig get spruced up for spring by Department of Transportation

Craig's bridges are receiving some early spring cleaning from the Colorado Department of Trans-portation.

CDOT is clearing brush and cleaning around its bridges for the first time in several years.

Clearing the brush from below the bridges is an important structural issue, said CDOT Maintenance Superintendent Kandace Lukow. Plants can grow into the concrete and damage the bridge's stability.

"We need to protect them as much as possible. Some of these bridges have been with us for awhile," Lukow said.

The bridge crossing Fortification Creek on Craig's east side was built in 1937. The bridge on Colorado Highway 13 north of Craig was built in 1936.

Other bridges throughout Craig's CDOT region, which stret-ches from Winter Park to Utah and from Rifle to Wyoming, also date back to the 1930s.

During the past few years, CDOT hasn't had the money to perform simple maintenance on its bridges.

"We haven't had money in that program area," Lukow said.

After receiving funding this year, CDOT is not only clearing brush but painting the bridges and sweeping, as well.

Road crews also are repairing shoulder drop-offs, where cars pull off the road and shove gravel away.

CDOT doesn't want to break down its winterized equipment until the region is safe from snowstorms, Lukow said.

The snowplowing season started heavy for CDOT in North-west Colorado. Snows fell on Rabbit Ears Pass in early Sep-tember.

The mild winter weather made snowplowing work harder at times. Snow would fall on warm roads and melt, but when it grew cold the water would freeze and the crews had ice to contend with. On cold roads, the snow often blows off the pavement.

After CDOT breaks down its winter equipment, road crews will begin inspecting and fixing fences and filling cracks in the asphalt.

Soon after July 1, crews likely will begin paving and chipping state roads, Lukow said.

As spring arrives, Craig Road and Bridge crews are busy sweeping the sand off the roads.

The crew did less plowing than during previous years but still dumped plenty of sand, Road and Bridge Supervisor Randy Call said.

Although the department saved on fuel costs, other costs stayed the same, because it doesn't employ a separate plow crew.

During summer, crews will begin filling cracks in the asphalt. During the last week in July, crews will chip seal about 10 miles of roads in the city.

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