Moffat County begins swinging bridge repairs

Swinging bridge in Browns Park has been closed for about a month

— Moffat County officials have begun the process of repairing the Browns Park swinging bridge, which is closed to public traffic.

The county commission closed the bridge about a month ago after road and bridge staff and a state engineer deemed its support cables too brittle for regular use.

The county has contracted with Diversified Consulting Solutions — which is based in Westminster but has a satellite office in Craig — to investigate the situation and assess what repair options the county can consider.

Commissioner Tom Gray said the county did not settle on a payment amount for DCS’ services but that it would be less than $5,000. Any expense more than that amount must go through a formal bid process unless the commission elects to waive the bid process at a public meeting.

A DCS engineer spent part of Tuesday at the swinging bridge taking core samples of the rock on each side of the bridge to see if the steel cables could be anchored to the ground instead of concrete, like they are now.

If the ground is suitable, the county could buy smaller anchors, said Jeff Comstock, Natural Resources Department director.

Gray said he expects DCS to finish its preliminary assessment by early January.

Once the initial engineering work is done, county officials will survey their options and decide about how to proceed with repairs.

There is no set timeline for when the bridge will reopen or how much the final engineering and repair work will cost. County officials won’t be able to discuss those subjects until DCS finishes its work.

However, Gray said he wants county staff to do as much work as possible and work on the bridge through winter because Browns Park typically gets less snow than Craig.

The commissioners also expect the final engineering and repairs to be relatively expensive.

“When that bridge was built, it cost $22,000,” Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said. “That’s probably just what the engineering will cost now.”

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