You have to look closely to see anything different about the Royal Gorge Bridge.
100 out of the 1,230 timbers on the bridge are new. A fresh green, compared to the weathered grey.
“That’s the first thing we had to do obviously was get the timbers replaced and get the engineers to check the steel,” said General Manager Mike Bandera.
Those 100 timbers amazingly were the only casualties suffered by the bridge when a wildfire destroyed 48 out of 52 buildings and attractions at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park last June.
“That would have been devastating if the bridge went,” Bandera said.
In 85 years, over 26 million visitors have crossed the bridge. For the first time in nine months that number began to grow again.
“So happy the bridge is open,” said visitor Josh Keltner. “Seeing it firsthand beats anything you really don’t have an idea until you come out and see this.”
Guided weekend tours opened to the public for the first time Saturday.
The tours are on a first-come, first-serve basis, with the first ride departing at 10:30 a.m. and the last ride at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday only. It costs $10 per person, and children 3-years-old and under will be admitted at no charge.
It is still a construction zone. In January the park broke ground for a $23-million dollar rebuilding project. Officials hope to have the first phase finished by August.