When the Colorado Department of Transportation put the historic Dotsero Bridge "up for adoption" in late April, the agency caught the attention of at least one person in Denver who just happens to be in the market for a cool bridge to span the South Platte River -- the subject of "Water World," this week's cover story.
Kyle Zeppelin, who runs the Taxi development in River North, has wanted a bridge for a while -- something that would connect the people who live, work and dine in Taxi with the rest of the neighborhood. That need is even stronger now that Zeppelin Development is building Drive, a four-story office complex that is the second phase of Taxi.
The Dotsero Bridge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a 150-foot-long steel truss bridge that was built over the Colorado River in 1935. "It is one of just a few metal truss bridges on Colorado's highway system that is still intact," according to the agency. "The bridge is historically significant for its contribution to transportation on US Highway 6 across western Colorado and because it is an excellent example of a standard Colorado State Highway Department truss design."
The bridge doesn't meet current design guidelines for cars, so CDOT plans to replace it later this year. It would be great for pedestrians, though.
The City and the Greenway Foundation, which has been involved in projects to restore the river for the past thirty years, would love to build a bridge over the South Platte as well; in fact, the foundation's $14.6 million plan calls for a pedestrian "art bridge," art park, sculpture garden, community garden and boat launch.
Zeppelin likes the plan, but he's tired of waiting. "The river looks exactly the same as it did ten year ago when we started talking to them. We want to realize that thing sooner rather than later," he says. So Zeppelin is pricing out his own bridge, something that could cost just $250,000 -- and if things go well, it could be the Dotsero Bridge.
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CDOT spokeswoman Ashley Mohr says that a half a dozen people have contacted the department hoping to adopt the bridge. "That was surprising. It's more than we were expecting, and all of them are legitimately interested."
The department will send out an information packet to each interested party next week, all of whom will need to submit a detailed bridge relocation plan -- and it could be a complicated affair since the bridge will have to be disassembled and reassembled and stripped of lead paint. A decision on the bridge will be made later this year.
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