The Browns Park swinging bridge reopened Thursday after being closed since November 2009. The bridge, originally built in 1954, was outfitted with new cables, anchor blocks and a new saddle design, among other measures.

File photo

The Browns Park swinging bridge reopened Thursday after being closed since November 2009. The bridge, originally built in 1954, was outfitted with new cables, anchor blocks and a new saddle design, among other measures.

Browns Park swinging bridge reopens to traffic

Also at the meeting

In other news, at its regular Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, payroll warrant resolutions ending Oct. 16 totaling $654,982.06.

• Approved, 3-0, a quarterly reimbursement report for the Moffat County Office of Emergency Management totaling $8,345.66, of which $4,172.83 is eligible for federal reimbursement.

• Approved, 3-0, a resolution for temporary closure of Moffat County Road 206 for culvert replacement from Monday to Nov. 30.

• Approved, 3-0, a new order contract for the Moffat County Library with Recorded Books, LLC totaling $3,100.

• Approved, 3-0, a copier service agreement with Xerox for the Moffat County Library totaling $1,698 for purchases and a 12-month maintenance agreement totaling $15 per month.

• Approved, 3-0, a proclamation designating November as National Runaway Prevention Month in Moffat County.

• Approved, 3-0, appointing Melinda White, Justin Pankey and Pam Lathrop to the Moffat County Fair Board.

• Approved, 3-0, appointing Len Browning to the Moffat County Housing Authority Board.

• Approved, 3-0, appointing Mindy Curtis to the Moffat County Employee Insurance Board.

• Approved, 3-0, a three-year oil and gas lease with Gulfport Energy Corporation for the Museum of Northwest Colorado on 140.16 mineral acres at $225 per mineral acre totaling $31,536. The lease also includes a possible 2-year extension with repayment option.

• Approved, 3-0, a personnel requisition for the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s Office for an existing, regular, full-time clerk and recorder supervisor.

• Approved, 3-0, a resolution designating the holidays the county will observe in 2011.

• Approved, 3-0, a letter to the Colorado Health Foundation regarding the Medicaid strategic enrollment assessment process from the Moffat County Department of Social Services.

• Approved, 3-0, to go into executive session with county attorney Jeremy Snow and natural resources director Jeff Comstock to receive specific legal advice regarding Moffat County Road 47.

• Approved, 3-0, to go into executive session with county attorney Jeremy Snow to discuss lease negotiations of the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

After about a year of being closed for repairs, the Browns Park swinging bridge was opened for all traffic Thursday.

Moffat County road and bridge director Bill Mack announced the bridge’s reopening to the Moffat County Commission at its regular Tuesday meeting.

The commission decided to close the bridge in November 2009 after noticing several broken cable strands where they met the towers.

Over time, stress placed on the cables bent them into cracking, which weakened the overall structure of the bridge.

The bridge, originally built in 1954, was outfitted with new cables, anchor blocks and a new saddle design, among other measures.

The improvements upgraded the bridge from its previous 3-ton load capacity to a 23- to 25-ton load capacity.

Original estimations placed the project at about $460,000, but the county was able to cut that price through cost-saving measures. It also saved about $100,000 in labor costs by doing the project in-house.

The cost of the project was further offset by a Department of Local Affairs grant for $65,000.

The county originally estimated the repairs to the bridge would cost about $35,000. Mack said after the meeting the project’s final cost had not yet been calculated, but estimated it would be more than originally projected.

One of the main setbacks for the project was the discovery of hard rock buried near the bridge’s anchor blocks in June. Crews worked for about a month to break up the rock so cement could be poured for the new blocks.

One of the major project changes included the decision to not replace all of the bridge’s hanger cables, Mack said.

“It was going to be a substantial amount of money just to replace those cables,” Mack said.

Mack said many residents were glad to have the bridge open again, including hunters and various Browns Park residents.

Overall, Mack said he was pleased with the results of the project.

“There were a lot of unknowns, and we had to change several things as we went along,” he said. “We got the bridge done in a timely of fashion. … Yeah, it took some extra time, but we didn’t get anybody hurt and we got the project done. It’s been a good project.”

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray said he was pleased with how the road and bridge department operated during the bridge’s rehabilitation.

“Once they got into it, they took pride in it and took it on as their project, and worked away,” he said. “There was a lot of unanticipated things — rebuilding a swinging bridge is not something you do very often.”

Gray said he was pleased to hear that portions of the original bridge cable had been cut from scraps and saved for historical purposes.

“It is part of the history of Moffat County, that’s for sure,” he said.

Public safety center negotiations continue

The Moffat County Commission is continuing negotiations with the City of Craig regarding the Craig Police Department’s lease of the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said the two sides are still discussing what costs should be included in the police department’s future lease.

“We realize the importance of keeping the city in that building,” he said.

Moreover, Mathers said the commission is “trying to be fair” during negotiations.

“We don’t want any more than what we should get out of it,” he said. “But, we don’t want to take any less than what we should get out of it, either.”

Gray declined to comment when asked if the commission had decided to lower the originally presented possible lease cost.

During initial discussions, the commission presented possible future lease costs based on the current operating costs of the building, which would place the lease cost at $256,591 per year.

“What we are hearing so far … is they kind of backed up and started from scratch,” Gray said of a smaller city and county committee organized to discuss the lease.

Mathers was doubtful the city would build a new police department building if a compromise was not reached, he said.

“There is no way they are going to go build a building cheaper than what we are going to let them have this at,” Mathers said. “Nor would I think that the taxpayers would want us to hold out so high that they had to go build a building.”

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