By Owen Woods |

THE trail system along the Rio Grande in Alamosa got a major boost Wednesday when Gov. Jared Polis and Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper announced a $4.77 million grant to pay for a pedestrian bridge crossing.

“This bridge is huge for outdoor recreation as it directly connects pedestrians and cyclists in the ASU community (Alamosa’s most densely populated neighborhood) to the vast trail network, open spaces, and outdoor recreation amenities on the east side of the river,” said John Reesor, outdoor coordinator for Alamosa Parks and Recreation.

You can read Alamosa Citizen’s earlier coverage of this story here. To summarize the project, the bridge will span the river at one of its most constricted points. It will be located just north of the Adams State baseball fields, connecting to Cattails Golf Course. The tied arch bridge will be about 320 feet in length and 14 feet wide. A parking lot will be constructed off Stadium Drive for easy access. 

The announcement made by the governor and the state’s two U.S. senators was part of $45.8 million for three Colorado infrastructure plans.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the biggest investment in America’s roads, bridges, and transportation since Eisenhower. Now the law is delivering $46 million in federal funding to support Colorado projects that will connect communities, reduce congestion, and strengthen local economies,” said Bennet in the press release. “I urged the Department of Transportation to support these worthy projects across our state, and I look forward to welcoming additional investment in Colorado’s infrastructure from this historic legislation in the years ahead.”

With a tentative completion deadline of 2024, the pedestrian bridge still has a way to go. 

A lengthy design process is slated to begin later this month, with permitting and construction starting in late 2023.

“Once the design, engineering, and permitting process is complete and once the DOT has given us the ‘authorization to proceed,’ we will begin with construction activities,” Reesor said. 

It will be the first bridge of its kind in Alamosa proper. The bridge will act as a symbol, too. One that promotes going outside, riding bikes, walking, enjoying nature, but also one that reduces traffic accidents and works, little by little, to offset carbon emissions. The health and well-being of the people can be tied back to the outdoors they have access to. With this bridge, everyone can access everything. 

“The bridge is one more piece of the puzzle in terms of creating a connected river corridor trail system that extends from the Alamosa Riparian Park to the north of the City down to the south-end Alamosa Wildlife Refuge. This will have huge implications for improving the quality of life for residents, will attract visitors to the San Luis Valley, and will support the local outdoor recreation economy,” said Reesor. 

Community Reaction

“What an incredible opportunity for Alamosa to see this bridge come to a reality. It has been a long time coming for our community, this will not only benefit outdoor recreation but will add another transportation alternative directly to Adams State. I’m so proud of the work John Reesor and the City of Alamosa put into this proposal,” said Mick Daniel, executive director, San Luis Valley Great Outdoors.

“This announcement is like a lightning spark for the Alamosa community that has been decades in the making. This bridge will be a tremendous asset to our community that will connect neighborhoods and Adams State University to the Rio Grande, our trail system and other outdoor amenities that will enhance our quality of life, help us retain our workforce and help our city thrive into the future. I want to thank the Revitalize the Rio Committee, San Luis Valley Great Outdoor Coalition and our hard working staff, especially John Reesor, for getting this project to this point,” said Alamosa Mayor Ty Coleman.

Andy Rice, director of Parks and Recreation, wrote in a separate release, “This project would not have been possible without broad support from the public. We have heard for decades from long-time residents of their desire for a bridge connecting the Adams State community to our diverse open spaces and trails. In addition, the public input from our City’s most recent Comprehensive Plan named ‘embracing the river corridor’ as the number one priority for the Parks and Recreation Department. We’ve shown progress toward this mission through the addition of significant trail mileage, new river access points, and now this pedestrian bridge. Years of hard work from members of the Revitalize the Rio group, San Luis Valley Great Outdoors and many other community partners have made this project possible. This bridge is a ‘game changer’ for our community and region and we are very thankful for the federal partnership.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s investment in the City of Alamosa,” Reesor said. “This pedestrian bridge will help promote healthy lifestyles, reduce dependency on motor vehicles, improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and will be an economic and quality of life boost for Alamosa and its residents. 

“Once completed, this steel 320-foot single-span bridge will be an iconic landmark for the City of Alamosa and Adams State University.  I believe it is something residents will be very proud of and will add to Alamosa’s beauty and character.

“The construction of this bridge is not the end game. This project will only build momentum towards realizing the full potential of the Rio Grande corridor throughout Alamosa.” 

Leave a comment