New bridge at Deadman’s Gulch

Only positive feedback so far

By Adam Broderick

If you’ve ridden the Deadman’s mountain bike trail this summer you probably noticed the new bridge across Cement Creek. It spans 52 feet and cost almost $90,000 to build, and has been in place since July 7, so unless you’re extra gnarly and ride with eyes closed and ear buds blasting, chances are you’ve noticed.

One of the staff writers here at the News took a ride on the classic Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman’s trail network recently and had nothing but good to say of the new bridge.

photo by Mark Reaman
photo by Mark Reaman

“It’s crazy nice. It’s a fancy bridge that looks like it could be from the Aspen rec path. It’s fully legit, and they built this dirt ramp up to it so you just ride right on and off,” said sports writer Than Acuff. “Years ago this guy who lived up there dropped a tree perfectly across the creek. It was crossable but got slippery when wet and was kind of sketchy in the spring when the creek is raging. [The new bridge] probably saves a lot of concern and hassle.”

Lee Ann Loupe, spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service, confirmed that both the Forest Service and users felt the previous creek crossing was not safe, especially in high water, so the decision was made to install a crossing that meets standards and improves safety.

“Citizens constructed make-shift bridges that were not safe or designed to standard. The new bridge doesn’t change trail use seasons, it just makes the trail safer to use,” she said.

The Pratt Thru-Truss Design, 52-foot aluminum bridge cost $86,784 and was paid for by a partnership effort from the Forest Service, an OHV grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, GOATs (Gunnison Valley OHV Alliance of Trailriders), Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, and Gunnison Trails Group. According to Loupe, it’s one of the first, if not the first, 52-foot aluminum bridges in the Rocky Mountain region.

Loupe said the bridge is encouraged for foot, bike and motorcycle use; horses are permitted but are encouraged to use the fjord above. The bridge can support a 5,000-pound load, which Loupe equated to 10 motorcycles and riders at one time, or four horses with riders. She said the bridge has a 50-year lifespan and future maintenance will include checking nuts and bolts, maintaining approaches, and repairing damage from vandalism and/or rocks and trees.

So far, Loupe said feedback from trail users who have crossed the bridge has been 100 percent positive.

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