Bridge Replacement Project begins near Trinidad

Old Structure available for adoption

Old Structure available for adoption

LAS ANIMAS COUNTY – Initial work is underway on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Purgatoire River Bridge replacement project on U.S. 350, about 12 miles northeast of Trinidad.

A one-lane, paved detour currently is under construction, parallel to the old structure, requiring traffic stops up to 10 minutes from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

When the detour opens in June, a signal will alternate eastbound and westbound traffic, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sensors will monitor traffic, activating the signal to minimize wait times for stopped vehicles. The maximum wait time will be two minutes.

During the construction, scheduled through November 2013, the speed limit is reduced to 40 mph and vehicles wider than 14 feet are not permitted through the work zone.

CDOT is replacing the current structure since it is poor condition and functionally obsolete. In addition to removing the old bridge and constructing a new one, the project includes new roadway approaches to the bridge, new asphalt pavement and guardrails.

“The bridge doesn’t meet current design standards for highway width and it has structural deterioration,” said CDOT Project Engineer Dean Sandoval. “Also, most of the structural and reinforcing steel and concrete is showing signs of advanced deterioration. Replacing it is one more step in upgrading our highway infrastructure. However, the old bridge is historic and it’s adoptable.”

CDOT is making the current bridge available for adoption to any person or organization interested in relocating it. Built in 1937, the National Register-eligible structure is a steel, rigid connected Camelback pony truss (see picture above).

“It’s one of the state’s longest span examples of a low or camelback pony truss bridge type,” said CDOT Senior Staff Historian Lisa Schoch. “It may be a good candidate for re-use as a pedestrian or recreational trail bridge but a new deck and abutments would need to be constructed for it at a new location.”

The Colorado Bridge Enterprise (CBE), a government-owned business entity within CDOT, is fully funding the $2.2 million project. The Colorado General assembly created the CBE to complete designated bridge projects that involve the financing, repair, reconstruction and replacement of bridges designated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and rated “poor” by CDOT. More information is available at:

The contractor, Lawrence Construction Co. Inc., of Littleton, CO. has set up a project hotline. Please call 888-759-6197 with any questions or concerns.

Updated information regarding traffic impacts on this or other CDOT projects is available at or by calling 511. To receive project updates via e-mail, visit and click on the cell-phone icon in the upper right-hand corner. The link takes you to a list of items you can subscribe to, including Southeast Colorado.


 taking care to get you there

Contact: Bob Wilson, CDOT Public Relations, (303) 757-9431

Filed Under: FeaturedNoticePublic SafetyTransportation


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