Durango prepare receives $2 million grant to switch bridge

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DURANGO — The Durango & Silverton Slender Gauge Railroad has obtained about $2 million to assist pay for the substitute of a bridge over the Animas River, south of Silverton.
The U.S. Division of Transportation awarded the grant via the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Security Enhancements program, which was designed to fund tasks that enhance reliability and effectivity of intercity passenger trains, the Durango Herald reported.
Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner defined the significance of the D&SNG in a joint letter of assist to award the grant, citing the corporate’s $200 million affect on the native financial system and 270,000 vacationers final yr.
“An important a part of this connection is a 242-foot bridge that crosses the Animas River that’s presently in a state of overstress and in want of substitute,” the letter mentioned.
Requests for remark from Bennet’s Democratic workplace and Gardner’s Republican workplace weren’t returned.
D&SNG Basic Supervisor Jeff Johnson mentioned the wood bridge is purposeful and passes biannual inspections for security, however was seemingly constructed within the 1910s or 1920s and can should be changed.
Johnson mentioned the grant isn’t anticipated to cowl your complete price, which remains to be being decided.
“We have been simply notified in regards to the grant, and now we will begin (planning) how we need to do it,” he mentioned.
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The corporate additionally just lately inspected the Elk Creek bridge and adjoining observe additional south of Silverton, which confirmed that the injury isn’t as in depth as beforehand thought.
In June, an enormous rainstorm prompted a logjam on the bridge, which then prompted about 40 ft (12 meters) of observe to scrub out, reducing off trains from Silverton, firm officers mentioned. It was initially estimated that the bridge might take as much as 16 weeks to restore, however inspections mentioned it didn’t should be changed.
“As a result of the integrity of the bridge was good, that was an enormous step in saving money and time on this mission,” Johnson mentioned, including that many of the work can now be centered on repairing the washed-out observe as a substitute of changing the bridge.
That work is anticipated to be accomplished by the top of fall.

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