A truck drives over the Yahmonite Bridge on Tuesday afternoon. The bridge will be closed to through traffic this week while waterline work is done.

Photo by Matt Stensland

A truck drives over the Yahmonite Bridge on Tuesday afternoon. The bridge will be closed to through traffic this week while waterline work is done.

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— Arvada-based construction contractor TARCO is mobilizing for the replacement of the structurally obsolete Yahmonite Bridge in Old Town Steamboat Springs.

Public Works engineer Ben Beall said workers will begin waterline work in the area of the bridge this week. The area will be closed to through traffic during this phase. The actual demolition of the bridge won't start until the second week of August.

"That's going to be the biggest impact," said Beall, who said the bridge is crossed about 1,000 times a day.

The $610,000 bridge replacement project will include a total reconstruction of the bridge and a realignment of Soda Creek, as well as the waterline replacement. Until the new bridge is installed, residents who typically use Yahmonite Street are encouraged to use 12th or Pahwintah streets to move between upper and lower Old Town.

"Unfortunately, this will be impactful to the neighborhood," said Wendy DuBord, Steamboat Springs' acting city manager. "There will be detours. This is going to be a construction zone."

The Yahmonite Bridge crosses Soda Creek at the northern end of Ninth Street, which merges with Aspen Street and then Yahmonite Street to the west. Once work begins on the bridge itself, Beall said the crossing most likely will be closed until mid- to late-November.

While Beall said it will be "critical" to acquire and lay asphalt before winter, he said it is very unlikely that work would fall so behind schedule that the bridge would be closed for the entire winter.

"We're excited to finally get this bridge replaced," DuBord said.

The city originally planned to replace the bridge in 2007 based on a 2006 report from the Colorado Department of Transportation that cited "significant deterioration" of one of the abutment walls under the bridge, built in 1971. No qualified contractors bid on the project, however, so construction was delayed.

After learning the bridge would not be replaced last year, the city contacted engineering group Kirkham Michael to determine whether the bridge could handle existing traffic until spring. On the consultant's recommendation, the city installed stop signs on both sides of the bridge last fall and posted signs asking that only one vehicle proceed over the structure at a time.

The stop signs reduce the speed at which cars are crossing the bridge - which has crumbling abutment walls, rotting wood and stressed beams - reducing the vibrations to which the bridge is subject.

For more information on the bridge replacement project, contact Beall at 871-8293.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

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