U.S. 50 Bridge Failure Shows Fragile State of Colorado Infrastructure

Colorado is allocating millions annually towards the repair of 32 bridges classified as “poor” condition, surpassing the efforts of many other states, according to our examination of the National Bridge Inventory.

According to Axios, the U.S. 50 bridge that closed at the reservoir was listed as “fair” in the federal data and wasn’t on a separate list for state repairs. But a recent safety inspection found a 3-inch crack developed in a steel support beam.

  • The timeline for reopening is unclear and the state transportation department is vowing to give it all resources possible.
  • The detour is so long that students are taking a boat across the reservoir to get to class.

Between the lines: Colorado’s dedicated money for bridge repair comes from a series of fees on motorists dating back to the 2009 FASTER program. The effort received an additional boost from fees on delivery services put in place in 2021, agency reports show.

  • The bridge repair account is $159 million, or about 8% of the transportation department’s budget.
  • This year’s state budget will infuse an additional $5.8 million.

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