The Eastbound Cimarron street bridge leading into downtown Colorado Springs has been shut down. Traffic engeineers say the bridge, which was built in 1958, is not safe for traffic. About 30,000 vehicles a day use the bridge and now they'll have to find alternatives routes.
Traffic will be limited to one lane in each direction on the westbound bridge for at least the next two weeks. That is a separate structure and has not structural problems.
The bridge was identified by the City as "structurally deficient." But Friday, crews discovered that it was worse than they thought.
Four percent of the 168 bridges in Colorado Springs are in need of repair. But the Cimarron bridge is the worst.
Structural engineers say the problem is that concrete from the bridge is crumbling and they say it can't be counted on to support the weight on the bridge any longer. The City says, "We're going to have our structural engineer design a repari for it. It was unexpected because it was below the surface and it was more extensive than the engineers thought."
But the real problem is finding the funds to fix the bridge. The City has allocated $344,000 for a temporary fix this year. But city engineers say they'll need more money next year as the bridge continues to all apart.
State and Federal government funds used to give cities grants to replace structurally deficient bridges. But with budget woes, that money has dried up.
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