Colorado Bridge Enterprise Outlines Plan to Fix Colorado's Worst Bridges

March 18, 2011 - Statewide Transportation Plan - STATEWIDE—The Colorado Bridge Enterprise (CBE) Board of Directors has approved a bond delivery plan as well as program goals for the design, repair and/or replacement of 63 of the state’s worst bridges targeted to receive funding from its first bond issuance. The 63 bridges are located in twenty-five Colorado counties.

In December of 2010, the CBE sold $300 million in “Build America Bonds”.  These bond proceeds will be used to fully fund replacement or repair of 47 bridges.   An additional 16 bridges will receive funding for design phases only to get them ready to go to construction later in the program.  A complete listing of the bridges can be found at

The estimated total cost to complete design and construction of all 63 structures is approximately $600 million dollars. Additional funds to complete the reconstruction of these 63 bridges plus additional bridges in poor condition will be generated through future bond issuances when market conditions are favorable and the funds are needed for construction.  The bonds are being paid back through a bridge surcharge that is collected through the state vehicle registration fee process.  The surcharge ranges from $13 (motorcycles) to $32 (vehicles weighing more than 16,000 pounds).

The CBE Board of Directors also approved the following goals for the program:

Accelerate the construction of Colorado’s worst bridges to improve public safety

  • Evaluate economic effectiveness on whether to repair or replace CDOT rated “poor” bridges
  • Poorest bridges should be the highest priority
  • Work safely in project execution

Program delivery plan that evaluates various options, encourages creativity, and a variety of

  • Use accelerated construction techniques and innovative project delivery
  • Establish policy to add eligible bridges [allowable by the FASTER legislation] to the program within financial constraints
  • Develop a plan to replace the I-70 viaduct

Be transparent with utilization of public funds

  • Regular and accurate reporting to ensure transparency
  • Outreach to Stakeholders/Public education
  • Execute work in alignment with Statewide Transportation Plan and consistent with statewide investment category goals and objectives for safety, mobility, system quality and program delivery

Build responsible, cost effective projects and optimize use of revenues

  • Streamline processes and procedures
  • Creatively take advantage of market conditions to finance the program
  • Determine appropriate project delivery methodology

Create jobs

  • Encourage and build small business participation
  • Create competitive bidding environment for small and large contractors and consultants

The Colorado General assembly created the statewide Bridge Enterprise via Senate Bill 09-108.  The Bridge Enterprise is a government-owned business entity within the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).  The purpose of Bridge Enterprise is 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.

At the time the Bridge Enterprise was formed, there were 128 bridges statewide designated as “poor”.  Of those, 46 have either been repaired or replaced or are currently under construction, 48 are designed or will be designed and 34 have not yet been programmed.  The entire CBE program includes the bond program noted above as well as other sources of state and federal funding.  The list of “poor” bridges is dynamic and always changing. As bridges are replaced, other aging bridges continue to deteriorate and can be rated as “poor” following inspection and then eligible for funding. The status of these bridge projects is as of March 17, 2011.

"It is gratifying to see how much has been accomplished by the Colorado Bridge Enterprise in such a timely manner,” said Les Gruen, chairman of the Colorado Bridge Enterprise Board of Directors, "My colleagues on the board join me in thanking all those that have made this rapid progress possible and we all look forward to continued successes. Addressing these poor bridges quickly is the right thing to do for Colorado.”