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, 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, 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 and a curb-to-curb width of 30 feet to enable two-way traffic. The bridge — which is designed to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 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.
“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.”
“In the wake of emergencies, Acrow’s modular steel solutions can help expedite the reconnection of critical routes," said Russ Parisi, Acrow’s Vice President, North America. "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.