Swinging Bridge decisions on hold | CraigDailyPress.com

Swinging Bridge decisions on hold

Janelle O'Dea
Moffat County officials are in the process of figuring out the next step for Swinging Bridge.

— Roy Tipton, director of Moffat County development services, opened a meeting Monday morning with a question that those in attendance still ponder:

Of the damage sustained on the Swinging Bridge, how much of the damage is regular bridge maintenance, and how much of the damage is attributable to T. Wright Dickinson’s employee’s accident?

All three Moffat County commissioners, Tipton and Bill Mack, director of Moffat County’s road and bridge department — among others — met to discuss what should be done with the Swinging Bridge after an accident in late June rendered the bridge unusable for anyone.

All at the meeting agreed that the bridge needs and has for some time needed more repairs than those sustained by the accident. The question commissioners and the Road and Bridge Department face now is the extent of the repairs to be made to Swinging Bridge.

When commissioner Tom Mathers asked if they could get a quote pertaining to only the repairs caused by the June accident, Tipton said that’s what needs to go to the insurance company.

“We stick our neck out there by saying we determined the responsibility is there,” Tipton said. “I’m uncomfortable saying, ‘You’re only responsible for these items.’”

Tipton as well as others want Liberty Mutual, Dickinson’s insurance provider, to do its own assessment before the county proceeds with any repair plans for the bridge.

Linda DeRose, manager for Moffat County’s Road and Bridge Department, presented other funding possibilities in the way of grants and monies beyond what the county can provide. These grants and other monies depend on the extent of repairs made to Swinging Bridge.

But these potential funding plans must be put on hold until Liberty Mutual does its assessment.

Tipton said much of the bridge’s problems come down to one issue.

“No matter what we do, there’s a misperception in the public about what that bridge will hold,” Tipton said. “You’ll never be able to get more than a pickup truck across it if it’s used right.”

Because the timetable for Liberty Mutual’s assessment is unknown, Tipton, the Road and Bridge Department and Moffat County commissioners are unsure about when a decision for the bridge’s repairs will be made. They’re hoping to have a better idea of what to do “within a couple of months,” commissioner Chuck Grobe said.