Red Cliff Bridge

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Red Cliff Bridge
Redcliff bridge 2006.jpg
Coordinates 39°30′30″N 106°22′36″W / 39.50833°N 106.37667°W / 39.50833; -106.37667Coordinates: 39°30′30″N 106°22′36″W / 39.50833°N 106.37667°W / 39.50833; -106.37667
Carries US 24
Crosses Eagle River
Locale Red Cliff, Colorado
Design cantilevered steel arch bridge[1]
Total length 471 ft (144 m)[1]
Width 30 ft (9.1 m)[1]
Height 200 ft (61 m) (approximate)[2]
Longest span 318 ft (97 m)[1]
Architect King Burghardt[1]
Constructed by P.M. Kenney[1]
Fabrication by Minnesota-Moline Power Implement Company[1]
Construction begin 1939[1]
Construction end 1940[1]
Construction cost $372,407[2]
Opened 1941[3]

Red Cliff Bridge is a cantilevered steel arch bridge located about 0.5 mi (0.80 km) southwest of the town of Red Cliff, Colorado.[1][4] The bridge carries U.S. Highway 24 over the Eagle River, as well as a county road, and the former Union Pacific Railroad track that heads south toward Tennessee Pass and the city of Leadville.[4] One of only two steel arch bridges within Colorado,[2] Red Cliff Bridge has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985 and is the state's only cantilevered steel arch bridge.[1]

The bridge was designed by King Burghardt, an engineer at the Colorado Department of Highways, and built by contractor P.M. Kenney in 1940 using steel components fabricated by the Minnesota-Moline Power Implement Company.[1] Construction was difficult, with workers hanging over a 200 ft (61 m) drop while working in temperatures that sometimes dipped below 0 °F (−18 °C). Burghardt wrote in his journal, "In the morning, each gang was lifted to its scaffold on a platform hung from the high line. They took their lunches with them and spent the entire day in the air with the winter wind continually blowing up the canyon."[2]

After more than 60 years since its construction, the bridge had deteriorated to the point that major restoration work was required. The work was completed between March and November 2004 at a cost of $3.6 million,[2] with $1.6 million coming from the Federal Highway Administration.[5] The bridge deck was replaced and widened and much of the steel was repainted. However, because of the bridge's historic status, care was taken to maintain the visual aesthetic.[2] The rehabilitation effort won the 2005 National Steel Bridge Alliance Prize Bridge Award for the year's best Reconstructed Bridge.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Red Cliff Bridge - National Register Information System ID: 85000204". National Park Service. February 4, 1985. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Shanks, Nancy (September–October 2005). "Preserving Red Cliff Arch". Public Roads. 69 (2). Archived from the original on August 14, 2007. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "2005 Winners". National Steel Bridge Alliance. December 1, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  4. ^ a b OpenStreetMap
  5. ^ "U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces $6.4 Million for Colorado Highway, Bridge Projects". Federal Highway Administration. May 4, 2004. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Red Cliff Bridge at Wikimedia Commons