Swinging Bridge repair may not need Moffat County funding
Craig — Construction for repairs to the Browns Park Swinging Bridge could begin as soon as this fall, and Moffat County may be off the hook for funding the project.
The $100,000 it had originally earmarked for bridge maintenance prior to the 2014 accident that damaged the bridge may only be needed as contingency money.
“If we don’t spend that money, the county won’t have to put money in,” said Moffat County Director of Development Services Roy Tipton.
The county has, however, dedicated countless employee hours to making the project happen.
Though not yet finalized, $100,000 in funding has been promised by the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition in eastern Utah, consisting of Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Sevier, San Juan and Uintah counties.
“The thing of it is, this is a regional project,” Tipton said. “All these people in Utah wouldn’t be throwing money at this if it wasn’t important to them.”
The bridge will offer the only crossing over the Green River connecting western Moffat County with eastern Utah. The only existing bridge is at the John Jarvie Historic Ranch in Utah, but the two-track road on either side of it is impassable much of the year, Tipton said.
Though designs are not yet complete, stakeholders are aiming for a bridge rated to hold 14 tons, making it passable by a wildland fire engine.
“It just makes sense that if there was a fire or emergency, you want to be able to get people there with the quickest response,” said Moffat County Commissioner Frank Moe.
Currently, vehicles in northwestern Moffat County must backtrack to Maybell, 60 miles from the Utah border via Colorado Highway 318, to reach eastern Utah.
The bridge project is also being funded by a $760,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The grant is matched by $500,000 from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Off-System Bridge Program, $100,000 from various stakeholders and the remaining $60,000 from the 2014 incident insurance settlement.
Other stakeholders include the Colorado State Land Board, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Vermillion Ranch, Questar Pipeline Company, as well as O.A.R.S and Don Hatch River Expeditions.