County commissioners advance bridge repairs near Maybell
CRAIG — The Yampa River bridge on Moffat County Road 13, near Maybell, will undergo repairs sooner than planned.
In October 2017, an inspection found the bridge’s southern structural supports had shifted. Due to the damage, the weight rating of the bridge was reduced to five tons.
“In my mind, the risk that we have is if we continue to see movement on the bridge, we may have to close it,” said Roy Tipton, director of county development services. “Those that are north of that bridge would have a 40-mile detour.”
The bridge is probably more than 100 years old, according to Tipton. It was donated by CDOT and put in place in about 1967. When it was placed, an extra support plate was installed behind the abutment. This extra support is what appears to have shifted. Tipton said engineers would need to excavate the area around the support to understand how to repair the bridge.
The county road and bridge department applied for and received a grant from Colorado Department of Transportation to repair the bridge, which uses a combination of 80 percent federal highway funds and 20 percent county dollars to pay for the project.
“Our engineer thinks that we can do the repair for less money than what we originally projected. I’m not sure, but it is something that needs to be fixed as soon as we can,” Tipton said. “If we wait on money through the federal highway’s process, we’re months away. We’re probably nine to 12 months away from being able to do anything, and we really don’t think we can wait.”
To speed repairs, the Board of County Commissioners approved an agreement with the Glenwood Springs engineering firm SGM Inc. The firm will be paid up to $20,388.60 to create a preliminary design for repairs.
Tipton said the agreement would take the county “about 70 percent of the way there” in repairing the structure. Tipton thinks this could be cheaper than the 20 percent the county would contribute were it to accept the CDOT grant.
The bridge is being monitored, with county staff looking at the damage weekly and CDOT check-ins every couple months.
In the meantime — though the quicker route is tempting for trucks heavier than the bridge’s weight limit — Tipton urged the public to observe the five-ton restriction.
“It’s still being used beyond its capacity, and that could be an issue,” said Commissioner Don Cook.
The BOCC also took the following actions during its weekly meeting Tuesday.
• Awarded a bid for materials to replace cattle guards to the Montrose firm Recla Metals. There are 475 cattle guards in the county, and the county Road and Bridge Department replaces about five to eight each year.
• Approved minutes from the Jan. 30 meeting.
• Approved resolution(s) for payment of payroll and transfer of payment of warrants.
• Approved a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Impact Assistance Grant application.
• Approved an agreement for maintenance of a Department of Human Services copier.
• Approved custodial services contracts for the cleaning of the Road and Bridge Department and the courthouse and Extension Office.
I have followed with interest the discussion concerning the potential transfer of the Yampa Elementary School to Memorial Regional Health. Although there are many significant unanswered questions about what Memorial Regional Health plans to do with the Yampa Elementary School, the focus of my letter is on the Yampa Elementary School as a community asset.