Dotsero Bridge Replacement Complete Ahead of Schedule

September 26, 2013 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - EAGLE COUNTY — Today, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Eagle County and representatives from the Federal Highway Administration cut the ribbon during an informal gathering to mark the early completion the Dotsero “green” Bridge Replacement Project.

The bridge, located on the I-70 Frontage Road off Exit 133, was originally slated for completion in October. Crews have only final seeding to complete.

The replacement project, contracted to Edward Kraemer and Sons, Inc., for $6.2 million, began last September 2012. It was funded through the Colorado Bridge Enterprise (CBE), as well as $410,000 from Eagle County. The Colorado Bridge Enterprise was formed in 2009 as part of FASTER (Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery) legislation. The purpose of the CBE is to finance the repair, reconstruction or replacement of bridges designated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and rated in poor condition.

“In the midst of flood recovery efforts underway on the Front Range, this project represents the good work underway in other areas of the state,” CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt said. “This bridge replacement is also representative of the positive results coming from the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, innovative contracting and partnerships with local agencies like Eagle County.”

The existing structure over the Colorado River was built in 1935 and was in need of replacement due to its poor rating—it was structurally deficient and also functionally obsolete (insufficient clearance for height and width). The bridge was also susceptible to scour, which could undermine the foundation. The new bridge is built to current federal design standards, including being able to accommodate a 100-year flood event with four feet of clearance to spare to accommodate river traffic. The previous bridge was designed for a 50-year flood and had to be closed periodically when the river elevation rose to within two feet of the bottom of the bridge.

“The new bridge has several important structural improvements,” CDOT Resident Engineer Peter Lombardi said. “The piers were constructed using separate caissons—versus wall structures—thus allowing the river the least obstructed flow under the bridge. Both the piers and the abutments are embedded into the bedrock, making the bridge more resilient to the impacts of flooding and the resulting scour.”

Functionally, the new bridge has current standard width lanes, shoulders and a pedestrian path, thereby increasing safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

"This state and federal project supports the efforts of our partnership of Eagle County communities to create a connected paved trail system for recreation and transportation purposes from Glenwood Canyon to Vail Pass,” ECO Trails Program Manager Ellie Caryl said. “The project is a model for new road and bridge construction with ample room for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. The vision of CDOT and Federal Highways is appreciated and the project turned out beautifully."

The bridge replacement, which also included construction of a new roundabout connecting the I-70 ramps with the frontage road (thanks to funding from Eagle County), was contracted to Edward Kraemer and Sons, Inc., of Castle Rock for $6.2 million. This project represents the first use of the innovative CM/GC contracting in CDOT’s Region 3. Through the Contract Management/General Contracting process, a contractor is selected on a qualifications and value basis and is brought into the design process before construction. This contracting method has been used for many years in Colorado and elsewhere but hasn't been utilized until recently by CDOT.

“CM/GC has resulted in a well-run project and quality product,” CDOT Region 3 Central Program Engineer Joe Elsen said. “Utilizing this practice was a good decision on this critical bridge replacement, where so many key details—from traveler safety to pier depth to environmental factors—needed a great deal of attention.

A final benefit of project partnering was the coordination with Eagle County to reduce impacts to river users. The new bridge was to be placed where historically there was a Colorado River access put-in. Eagle County was able to time their opening of the new (adjacent) river access so that access to the river would not be affected by this new bridge.

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PHOTOS – For photos of the old and new bridge, please go to the project web site at: