Delayed bridge project in Manitou Springs starts next week

CDOT to install sensors; first such project in Colorado

POSTED: 06:36 PM MDT Sep 10, 2013    UPDATED: 07:36 PM MDT Sep 11, 2013 

A lane of eastbound U.S. 24 on the Williams Canyon bridge will be closed for most of next week as the Colorado Department of Transportation begins a project to improve bridge safety statewide.

The lane will be closed Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  CDOT said it's possible that the project will be finished before next Friday.

CDOT will place 12 sensors under the bridge.  They'll allow the agency to monitor bridge conditions in real time under heavy traffic loads.  CDOT will do that from its headquarters in Denver instead of having to send a crew.

"It measures how a bridge is vibrating, how it might be deflecting down," said Dave Watt, a CDOT engineer.  "This will help us make better decisions quicker, more effectively, and keep the bridges open without load restrictions."

More specifically, Cole Richards, a CDOT bridge manager, said the sensors stress and temperature on a bridge structure.

Watt said the technology, used successfully in several states, could help the agency repair and replace bridges before they develop problems.  Currently, CDOT inspects bridges every two years.

Watt said even though the bridge supports are in the canyon, they're above the flood plain and won't be damaged by flash flooding.

The project will cost $150,000.  It was supposed to start in June, but Watt said getting manpower and resources together took longer than expected.