Old Cimarron/I-25 bridge is history after weekend demolition job
The old Cimarron/I-25 bridge is dead. Long live - once it's built over the next several months - the new one.
A weekend demolition project that started the night of Nov. 4 and finished 25 hours sooner than expected reduced the old bridge deck to rubble by dawn Nov. 5. That afternoon, all that remained was one of its piers and part of the pier cap (cross-member).
At 2 a.m. Nov. 6, those too were gone and enough of the rubble had been cleared to let the contractor, Kraemer North America, reopen Cimarron Street under the interchange. By noon that day all the ramps were also open again.
Previously, Kraemer project manager Mike Ingram had described the removal of the roughly 400-foot-long span as one of the major milestones in the $113 million Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) interchange replacement project. The effort marks the transition to the project's Phase 2, he said.
Kraemer started work in May 2015, and overall completion is scheduled by the end of 2017.
The old bridge - actually built as two bridges in 1959 with capacity added between them in the 1990s - was brought down chiefly through the repeated pounding of
CDOT's advance notices on the bridge demo had advised that Cimarron and both northbound ramps would have to be closed from 9 p.m. Nov. 4 until 5 a.m. Nov. 7.
Don Garcia of Wilson and Company, a project consultant to CDOT, offered two main reasons for the destruction occurring so much sooner. He said Kraemer had gotten a head start on the work by hammering on the side segments (the ones not above Cimarron Street) the nights of Nov. 2 and 3.
Also, a decision was made to temporarily install pipes for Fountain Creek under the interchange and cover them with at least 10 feet of dirt. That way, the broken pieces of the old bridge did not fall into the creek, Garcia explained.
The pipe configuration will last about five months, he added, after which the dirt and pipes will be removed and that creek segment upgraded (as part of the project) to a more natural state, with the Midland Trail beside it.
In the preceding months, Kraemer had built the first "half" (80 feet wide) of the new, 151-foot-wide bridge just west of the old one. With that segment's completion in October, interstate traffic in both directions was relocated to it. This enabled the interstate to stay open, with three lanes in either direction, throughout the Nov. 4-6 destruction of the old bridge.
As a size comparison, the entire width of the old bridge was just 90 feet, Ingram said. The new bridge's eastern half will be built between now and summer 2017, according to the project schedule.
“We appreciate the efforts of Kraemer, the project contractor, and project team to get the bridge demolition work done both efficiently and safely,” said Dave Watt, CDOT's project manager. “We know the temporary closure of US 24/Cimarron Street was an inconvenience for the traveling public, so, it's a bonus the work was completed earlier than originally expected.”
Watt has also said previously that the new bridge will be safer and better handle traffic demands that are over 10 times greater than when the original bridge went in.
Westside Pioneer article and photos, except for courtesy photos - second from the
bottom, by Colorado Department of Transportation; and bottom, by Cherry Creek