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Clear Creek bridge forges new link in The Colorado Trail

Volunteers help close an 80-foot gap in the 500-mile Colorado Trail.

arrow From the Fall 2008 American Trails Magazine

From the Colorado Trail Foundation and CONTECH Bridge Solutions Inc.

REGARDED AS ONE OF THE PREMIER long distance trails in the country, the Colorado Trail is preserved and enhanced by “Friends” of the Trail who put out both tremendous volunteer effort and financial support.

photo of crane with big bridge

Placing the the Clear Creek Bridge

An example of this was the recent success of the Clear Creek Bridge and reroute near the midpoint of the Trail. The Trail had crossed a private ranch for some 25 years.

When the ranch was sold a couple of years ago, the new owner, while gracious, requested that another alignment be found for the Colorado Trail. This was a real challenge— if a solution couldn’t be found, the continuity and connectivity of the 500-mile path would be broken.

Enter CT Friends, both volunteers and contributors. Volunteers scouted alternative routes, honed in on a feasible alignment, contacted landowners for permission, and set into motion all tasks to build a reroute. Donors stepped up, too, beginning with the new ranch owner.

The Colorado Trail Foundation had installed pedestrian bridges from CONTECH in the past. For the trail project, the foundation selected an 80’ long by 3’ wide Continental Connector style steel truss bridge. The structure has a weathering steel finish and Douglas fir decking.

photo of people on bridge

The Colorado Trail Foundation members turned out to celebrate the new bridge

“On this project, it was primarily volunteer labor,” said George Miller, Operations Director for The Colorado Trail Foundation. “The only hired labor was the crane to set the bridge and a backhoe operator; otherwise our volunteers did the work and built the abutments.”

“We wanted something that would be economical, environmentally friendly, and could be erected by volunteers,” commented Julian Lineham, Principal and Project Engineer for Studio NYL Structural Engineers.

“It has a substantial load coming down on the gabion foundations at each end and it worked well. Some gabions were also used in the river channel to break up the scour around the bridge foundation.”

For more information about The Colorado Trail Foundation, visit To learn more about CONTECH Bridge Solutions Inc., call (800) 526-3999 or visit

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