Public partnership paved the way for wider bridge
Sept. 1, 2021, update: View the recap below.
Aug. 17, 2021
Read about the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Vail Daily.
Aug. 10, 2021
The newly completed pedestrian bridge in Minturn will mark its official opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Aug. 16, 2021. The public is welcome to attend.
The bridge is near the intersection of Highway 24 and County Road on the north end of Minturn, just downstream of the County Road vehicle bridge.
This new bridge improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists and extends the Eagle Valley Trail system, but one community benefit that will likely go unnoticed by pedestrians is the new sewer main beneath their feet.
The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District began work to replace the aging sewer main crossing the Eagle River about one year ago. The pipeline is part of a system that collects wastewater from the town of Minturn and sends it to the district’s wastewater treatment facility in Avon, where cleaned water is then returned to the Eagle River. All of Minturn’s wastewater flow is conveyed through this section of sewer main, but at more than 50 years old, the old main had reached the end of its useful life.
The old aerial crossing could be a hazard to river users during high water conditions due to its low clearance. This also made the pipeline susceptible to high water events; the center pier was severely scoured and weakened, and the steel pipeline exhibited severe corrosion that put it at risk of failing. The former pipeline’s capacity was also insufficient to serve future growth projections for the town.
During the early phases of project design, the district team realized that this necessary sewer upgrade could be part of something even more beneficial to the community. The new pipeline required construction of a new utility bridge to support it across the river; a total cost of $1.6 million. A cost analysis by the district’s design team, HDR, revealed that installing a 12-foot wide pedestrian/bicycling bridge would cost $100,000 more than the needed 6-foot wide utility bridge. District staff reached out and the town of Minturn and ECO Trails agreed to split the added cost to achieve a strategic goal of extending the regional trail system to Minturn. ECO Trails later contributed an additional $41,000 for more asphalt and railing to enable the bridge to open to the public.
This partnership between the district, town, and ECO Trails allowed multiple projects to occur simultaneously, which reduced construction impacts and best leveraged public funds, and the district plans to continue these partnerships on future construction projects. This bridge project is just one part of multi-year wastewater infrastructure improvement efforts in the Dowd Junction area that span from the County Road bridge to the Gore Valley Trail bridge. ECO Trails and the district are currently working on designs that will add a critical segment towards Minturn from the Gore Valley Trail bridge along with new wastewater pipeline work in the same section of highway along US Highway 6 and 24, beneath Interstate 70.
Partners and project team members will gather at 4 p.m. Monday to celebrate a successful collaboration and invite pedestrians and cyclists to come be one of the first to cross the new bridge.