The Colorado Dept. of Transportation recently completed inspections of the 491 bridges on the state highway system that were potentially damaged by recent flooding in northern and northeastern Colorado.
Of the 491 bridges, 120 were determined to be stable but in need of repair. The remaining 291 are currently open with no need for repairs. After further inspection, some bridges were reported to have “notable damage,” but none were in need of replacement.
“Early in the flooding it had initially appeared as though some of the bridges may have been destroyed when viewed by aerial photography,” said CDOT State Bridge Engineer Josh Laipply. “Once our inspectors got on the ground and into the more damaged sites, it became apparent that much of the damage was on the roadways approaching the bridges and that the structures themselves, while needing repair, were still stable.”
CDOT has had two inspection teams working since floodwaters began receding to determine the impact of the floods. They are examining whether the structures were still stable and reviewing damage caused to the integrity of the bridge piers, trusses and girders, as well as the bridge decks.
Several area highways remain closed, including U.S. 34 between Estes Park and Lyons (11 of the 19 bridges need repairs), U.S. 36 between Estes Park and Lyons (all six bridge need repairs), State Highway 7 between Lyons and S.H. 72 (all six bridges need repairs), and S.H. 72 through Coal Creek Canyon (all four bridges need repairs).
Laipply said the CDOT inspections and totals do not include county, municipal and private bridges in the flood zones. CDOT inspectors are continuing to work with cities and counties to assess damage on over 800 bridges off the state system.