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The three photos at the top of this page show the final steps Sept. 20 of the process to demolish the north half of the old Colorado Avenue bridge over Fountain Creek at Columbia Road. Photos of earlier steps appear farther down on the page. In this shot, with the girders having been exposed, workers with contractor Wildcat Construction - at least one of whom is standing in the creek - attach the cables from the crane (which is not shown, but was located about 50 feet behind the workers standing at left). Photo looks south, with Colorado Avenue on the other side of the temporary concrete barricade that the workers in the background are standing behind.
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In the second of three photos showing the final steps of the bridge demolition Sept. 20, a girder is lifted by the crane, which is sitting in the Garden of the Gods RV Resort parking lot just north of both the bridge and the creek. The old bridge's girders had been put in place 83 years ago. The concrete barrier the worker is standing behind is a temporary barrier between the north half of the bridge that's been removed and the south half that will be used for Colorado Avenue traffic until the new bridge is open (April is the estimate).
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In the third of three photos showing the final steps of the bridge demolition Sept. 20, workers help guide the first removed girder, still held up by the crane (out of view to the right), into a cleared space just beyond its former home as the rightmost of the girders supporting the north half of the bridge.
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Avenue project milestone: demolition of old bridge's north half

During an earlier stage of the demolition, after the pavement had been removed, a worker with a large mechanized saw cuts through the concrete that was still in place on top of the girders. A photo farther down on this page shows an even bigger saw cutting through the low wall at left, which is still in place here. The idea of the sawing was to break the concrete into small pieces to ease the removal process. The end of the bridge can be identified in the foreground at the point where the concrete ends and the dirt begins.
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In a milestone for the Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) project, the north half of the old Colorado Avenue bridge - built in 1934 over Fountain Creek at Columbia Road - was demolished Sept. 19-20.
       The bridge's southern half is being temporarily retained to allow one lane of traffic each way during the construction of WAAP's new Adams Crossing Bridge.
       That span will be a featured part of the $30.9 million, multi-government WAAP project, which is upgrading 1½ miles of the avenue west of 31st Street.
       The demolition started with WAAP contractor Wildcat Construction placing barricades separating the two halves of the old bridge. The pavement was then scraped off the north side, after which large mechanical saws sliced through the low concrete wall along its outer edge as well as through the concrete deck atop the four bridge girders. The results were chopped-up chunks that could be lifted aside by heavy equipment with claw attachments.
       With the girders exposed, Wildcat workers - a few of them wearing hip waders in the 2-foot-deep creek - dislodged the beams at either end and melted apart their crossmembers with cutting torches. This eliminated the
A worker with hip waders in Fountain Creek uses a cutting torch to melt apart a cross-member between the girders for what had been the north side of the bridge.
Westside Pioneer file photo
girders' attachments to each other, so that each could be pulled out separately by the crane - although the first girder needed a final kick by a Wildcat worker to finally break free of its hold on the creek bank.
       Each girder measured more than 60 feet in length and weighed about 1,000 pounds, according to project information.
       The girder removal was accomplished by a large crane from the Cherry Creek Recycling company. It was positioned in the Garden of the Gods RV Resort parking lot next to Columbia Road.
       Afterward, the removed girders and rebar-laced chunks of concrete sat in coned-off areas at opposite ends of the newly created bridge void.
       Plans call for the girders and rebar to be recycled.
       The bridge had shown no signs of failure, but its age is an engineering concern, it's not built for a 100-year flood, it only had a sidewalk on one side, and it boasts no elegant/decorative amenities.
       According to Dennis Barron, project manager for El Paso County, the full width of the old bridge was just under 48 feet. The demolished north "half" actually measures out to 19 feet, leaving about 29 feet for the temporarily retained south "half."
       The new Adams Crossing bridge is designed to be 60 feet wide and have sidewalks on both sides, stone-like pillars and walls and historically styled lighting. Midland Trail users will be able to cross underneath, on a raised space next to the creek.
       Barron, contacted after the demolition, reported no major problems with the effort.
       “The only issue was the wind,” he said. Gusts Sept. 20 were recorded at just under 20 mph, and regulations frown on cranes lifting heavy objects at more than 25 mph. “But it calmed down enough to let us get everything done as planned,” Barron said.
       He also expressed gratitude to the resort management for allowing the crane to operate from its lot.
       According to plans, the new bridge will be built just north of the remaining half of the old one. To make room for the new span's 60-foot width, the project is acquiring about an acre from the Garden of the Gods RV Resort, realigning 1,000 feet of the creek in that area and moving the roadway slightly to the north.
       After the new bridge is built - Wildcat is shooting for April - the southern half of the 1934 structure is to be demolished as well.
       Adams Crossing is the historic name for the area around the bridge.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 9/23/17, updated 9/25/17; Projects: Westside Avenue Action Plan)

Chunks of concrete - formerly the bridge deck - lie in a pile in the foreground. In the background can be seen a couple of the bridge girders, still partially covered with concrete.
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Earlier in the demolition, a heavy-duty saw wipes out part of the low wall that had lined the north edge of the bridge.
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After all the preparation using heavy equipment, it took a hard, swift kick by a Wildcat Construction worker to dislodge this girder's last stubborn hold to the bank above Fountain Creek. It is shown in the air in the second and third photos at the top of this page.
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