The new bridges and paths that replaced two 86-year-old green bridges across the Pine River on Bayfield Parkway have opened.
The town hopes these new replacements are in place “for a long time,” said Bayfield Mayor Matt Salka.
Bayfield began planning the project in 2011, said Town Manager Chris La May. That is when the Colorado Department of Transportation transferred ownership of U.S. Highway 160B, as it was then called, to the town, along with $6.8 million in state funding to replace the bridges and provide other road projects in town.
Meeting in nearby Eagle Park at the beginning of a ceremony Tuesday to open the Parkway, town officials, members of the public and construction and engineering employees paused for a moment of silence to honor Brian Shaw, an employee of SEMA Construction who died in September when he fell from a lift on the site.
Shaw’s death is part of the “inherent danger” of large construction projects, Salka said.
La May shared highlights about the project:
A 5-foot sidewalk runs the length of the project on Bayfield Parkway.The path is four-tenths of a mile long and 10-feet wide, connecting Eagle Park to Joe Stephenson Park and Mill Street, so pedestrians don’t have to cross the busy road.More than 2,664 willows and 76 cottonwoods were planted for wetlands creation and restoration.Three-tenths of an acre of new wetlands were created in the nearby Little Pine Park.The town and its engineers and contractors received permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deal with wetlands and wildlife, including bald eagles, river otters, bats and the Southwest willow flycatcher, an endangered species that has habitat in the area.
The construction contract was for 220 days, but construction was completed early. The bridges opened on day 176 with a cost of $4.5 million.
“This project was huge for us,” Salka said, noting the amount of time La May, town staff and past and current town board trustees devoted to it.
While other communities are dealing with crumbling infrastructure, Bayfield has a newly expanded water treatment plant, a relatively new wastewater treatment plant, and a new town hall and senior center, he said.
The bridges and paths are open, but additional work may be necessary to finish the construction. If needed, it will take place after the Thanksgiving holiday.