NewsNews5 Investigates


Bridge set for replacement is among seven poorly rated in Colorado Springs

Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-04 21:30:16-05

A Colorado Springs bridge that the U.S. Department of Transportation says more than 16,300 thousand drivers use each day will be replaced and the old bridge, demolished.

It will amount to a lot of delays for drivers, it is one of a handful of bad bridges in the city.

A few months ago, News 5 brought you our investigationfinding 25 bridges in Southern Colorado have held a poor rating by the Federal Transportation Administration for more than ten years. The Circle Drive bridge that is set to be replaced is one of them.


News5 Investigates: Bad Bridges

At the Circle K gas station a few hundred feet from the western side of the Circle Drive bridge, it's slow going for Kenneth Chambers and his dog, Daisy. With a walker and the occasional cart, it's downright dangerous for him to cross the Circle Drive bridge on foot to pick up a few items he needs.

"It's unsafe and I try to walk where I can see them ya know, but even if you can see them, if they're coming at ya, there's no way to jump out of the way," Chambers said describing traffic on the bridge.

"Right now, the sidewalks are really narrow, you know, like a foot and a half, two feet wide. With the new with the new project, there will be ten-foot-wide sidewalks on either side," said Ryan Phipps.

Phipps is the city's Circle Drive Bridges project manager, overseeing the $40 million project expected to take two years.

For both drivers and pedestrians, Phipps said it's time to replace the 59-year-old steel bridge. The aging east and west-bound spans will be replaced in stages.

In renderings provided by the city, crews will start building the eastbound lanes of the bridge first, then transfer eastbound traffic onto the new bridge. Next, comes building the westbound spans and rerouting traffic before crews demolish the old bridge.

Circle Drive isn't the only bridge rated as poor by the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration. In fact, there are six others across Colorado Springs.

One of them, on Costilla Street near Wahsatch Avenue, was built 92 years ago. All have been on the poor rating list for more than 10 years.

The other five are located at St. Vrain near Wahsatch Avenue, on Bijou Street just east of North Corona Street, on Water Street at 31st Street, on Paseo Road south of Jefferson Street, and Mesa Road over Monument Creek.

Phipps said the fact Fountain Creek is lower at this time of year will allow them to begin the Circle Drive Bridges project without fear of water interfering with the work.

"This project is a PPRTA project, which means the voters of the Pikes Peak region, voted on a list of RTA projects back in, I believe, 2012, and said, 'You know, these are the ones we want to approve for funding for the ten year.' We're at the end of theRTA-2 program. So this project was selected and approved well over ten years ago," Phipps said referring to the voter-approved ballot question.

Drivers like Enrique Hernandez who are used to seeing the bridge down to one lane for repairs, said a replacement is overdue.

"Yeah, it's going to be a pain while it's under construction but when it gets done it'll be worth it, if it gets done right."

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