Acrow Bridge Installed to Reconnect Key Route After Culvert Collapse in Rural Western Colorado
Acrow Emergency Bridge, CO – Image Credit – Ralph L. Wadsworth
Detour bridge opened to traffic ahead of schedule, ending inconvenience of four-hour diversion route
(Parsippany, New Jersey) – 7 September 2023 – Acrow, a leading international bridge engineering and supply company, noted today one of its modular steel Mabey Universal™ panel bridges was recently installed on Colorado State Highway 133 (SH 133) between the small towns of Paonia and Somerset in the state’s Western Slope. The bridge is serving as a detour during construction to repair a damaged culvert and section of highway in the rural North Fork Valley area.
Heavy snowfall buildup on the Western Slope led to a higher-than-average spring runoff season, resulting in many rivers and creeks running higher and faster than usual. Such was the case with Bear Creek, whose rushing waters collapsed a culvert beneath SH 133, seven miles northeast of Paonia, causing the highway above to wash out, leaving a deep, impassable crevasse more than 20 feet across.
The region’s economy is transportation-dependent, consisting primarily of agriculture, mining and ranching. In addition, although sparsely populated, it is also heavily reliant on tourists drawn to the abundance of summer recreation opportunities as well as wineries, restaurants and shops. When SH 133 was closed in May, it caused an immediate impact to residents and businesses. Although some vehicles, including first responders, Somerset residents, and those making necessary deliveries were allowed to pass around the damage, the only available route for most travelers was a detour of some 200 miles (320 km), creating an urgent need to reopen the route.
The Colorado Department of Transportation put the job out for an emergency bid and Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction was awarded the contract. The Acrow-designed structure provided to the contractor is a heavy-duty Mabey Universal bridge with a length of 103.35 feet (31.5 m) and a curb-to-curb width of 30 feet (9.15 m) to enable two-way traffic. The bridge, which is designed to AASHTO HL-93 and has an anti-skid epoxy coated deck, was installed in two weeks. The bridge was rented to the contractor and will be in place until repairs are completed, now anticipated to be November 2023.
“Acrow’s robust Mabey Universal modular steel bridge was an ideal solution for this emergency project,” said Eugene Sobecki, Acrow’s Director National Sales & Military Business Development. “With unprecedented heavy-load capacity, the Mabey Universal is quickly assembled and installed to reconnect critical routes.”
Added Russ Parisi, Acrow’s Vice President, North America, “In the wake of emergencies, Acrow’s modular steel solutions can help expedite the reconnection of critical routes. Available for rent or purchase and in-stock for immediate delivery, Acrow’s components are easily transported to the most difficult locations, providing an economical and reliable solution to rapidly restore damaged infrastructure.”
Acrow has been serving the transportation and construction industries for more than 70 years with a wide range of modular steel bridging solutions for permanent, temporary, military and emergency use. Acrow’s extensive international presence includes leadership in the development and implementation of bridge infrastructure projects in over 150 countries across Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, please visit www.acrow.com.