Future of Swinging Bridge in Moffat County sways
In June of last year, a man almost drove a tractor across Green River’s Swinging Bridge.
The Swinging Bridge is about one mile east of the Colorado-Utah border and the only permanent crossing of the Green River in the area.
In winter 1927, the first version of the bridge was completed. It consisted of two-inch thick wooden planks resting on top of six wire cables.
“It’s really wicked the way they originally built it,” said Roy Tipton, Moffat County Development Services director.
Less than a year later, the original bridge was blown over and rebuilt by spring 1928.
Now, the Swinging Bridge is in need of reconstruction once again after an employee of rancher T. Wright Dickinson put a tractor through the decking nearly one year ago.
Tipton said if Moffat County is going to invest in a project to repair one section of the bridge, it might as well take advantage of the opportunity to perform extensive maintenance and essentially rebuild the bridge.
The question now is how to appropriate funds for the project.
“What we’re trying to do is get the other agencies involved to come up with the match money,” Tipton said.
Moffat County has $160,000 to put toward a federal grant application, but it will need more to apply for a matching grant.
The Friday deadline for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant was missed because Moffat County did not have enough money to match the grant.
“The take home point, I think, is we just need finical assistance from our friends in the other agencies,” said Moffat County Commission Chairman John Kinkaid.
Tipton said the best option for receiving a grant is the Federal Land Access Program. The deadline to apply for the grant is February 2016.
Unlike the TIGER grant, a FLAP grant would help cover engineering costs
“Which means our match gets distributed better,” Tipton said, explaining how FLAP grants require a 20 percent match.
Applying for a grant in 2016 means construction can be expected to begin in 2017, Tipton said.
Steve Barclay, refuge manager for Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge, said without the Swinging Bridge it now takes an hour-and-a-half journey through Utah to cross Green River.
“It used to take five minutes for us to be on the south side of the river if you left our headquarters,” he said.
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It wouldn’t be a league event for Moffat County High School track and field athletes without bringing home some hardware, and the Bulldogs earned some metal last weekend.