2 Core Trail bridges closed until Sept. 24 | SteamboatToday.com

2 Core Trail bridges closed until Sept. 24

People using the Yampa River Core Trail have been detoured this week as crews repair and paint two bridges along the popular route. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Steamboat Springs has begun refurbishing the two Snake Island pedestrian bridges along the Yampa River Core Trail. The bridges will be closed during the duration of the project, which is expected to continue through Sept. 24, and those using the trail will be detoured.

While detours on the trail may seem like inconveniences for some users, Steamboat Parks and Open Space Supervisor Craig Robinson said the city has a short window of time to complete the necessary renovations — between low-enough river flows, weather that is cool enough to let paint sit but not too cold to freeze and little to no chance of snow. Robinson said the city has tried May and September in past years, but unexpected snowstorms have caused delays.

“There’s no ideal time to close the Core Trail, but this is the best time with low river flows, weather and recreation,” Robinson said.

Parks Project Manager Matt Barnard said the project is necessary because the bridges deteriorate over time due to heavy usage and weather.

“Outdoor features like these bridges take a beating from changes in weather, including hot, dry temperatures as we’ve seen to months of snow and below-freezing conditions,” Barnard said. “This project is vital to ensuring the structures remain in a safe and structurally sound condition.”

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Painters began projects on other bridges around the same time last year, but temperatures were hotter and drier with less rain, so those projects were able to be completed at a faster pace. Robinson said the projects may still be done earlier than predicted, but Tuesday’s heavy rain slowed down the operation.

“Last year when they did it, it was super dry, and there was almost nothing flowing underneath the other bridge,” Robinson said. “We started a little earlier this time thinking it would still be dry.”

The city has contracted with Sloop Painting to do the refurbishing work. City Council member Heather Sloop co-owns Sloop Painting with her husband, Peter, but council was not involved in choosing the contractor.

Steamboat Parks and Recreation Director Angela Cosby said Sloop Painting was selected after the city reviewed several bids and chose the lowest, most qualified bidder. Sloop Painting is particularly appealing, Cosby said, because they take extra precautions to not get paint or debris in the river.

“One of the most important things for the city is the containment system so we don’t contaminate the river, and Sloop has performed remarkably in that,” Cosby said.

The bridges cross the Yampa River with the first bridge located near Rich Weiss Park and the second bridge located near Snake Island and the underpass near the Parks and Recreation office.

Those using the trail are encouraged to follow the detour signs, which takes users to the sidewalk along Lincoln Avenue to Third Street, then to the alleyway to Fifth Street to rejoin the Core Trail.

“We would never want to do a full closure because we know how important the Core Trail is to the community” Cosby said.

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