Man hands are cutting red ribbon with scissors.

'Hardwick Bridge Trail' ribbon-cutting scheduled for June 17

June 10, 2022

A ribbon-cutting event for the new Riverview Safe Routes to School “Hardwick Bridge Trail” is scheduled for June 17 at 10 a.m. at the Hardwick Bridge. This trail provides a dedicated paved trail connecting the Ironbridge and Westbank communities to the Rio Grande Trail and Riverview School. Construction for this project started in June 2021 and concluded in May 2022.

“We are excited to have a safe route to the Riverview School,” said Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gatlin, who has managed this project for the district. “Students will now be able to safely walk or bike to school while separated from vehicle traffic.”

In 2018, the Roaring Fork School District partnered with Garfield County and RFTA to begin planning for a pedestrian and bike path to connect the Westbank and Ironbridge communities to the newly constructed Riverview Pre-K-8 school. After considering different options, an ideal route was identified, and a plan was submitted for a CDOT-funded Safe Route to School grant project.

The Safe Route to School grant was awarded, and the project also received grant funding through a Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District grant, a Transportation Alternative Program grant, and a Revitalizing Main Street grant. The total of all grant funding for this project was approximately $1.6 million. The Garfield County Commissioners contributed $1.3 million in direct funding and in-kind expertise and services from the Garfield County Road and Bridge Department. The department made driveway crossing improvements and built the 1,500-foot section of the trail in the RFTA right-of-way connecting County Road 154 to the existing Rio Grande Trail.

“This complex project took a tremendous amount of teamwork and collaboration. We couldn’t be more thankful to Garfield County and RFTA for their partnership on this important project,” Gatlin said.

The ribbon-cutting will conclude four years of collaboration between the Roaring Fork School District, Garfield County, RFTA, and CDOT on this complex project.

Garfield County’s project lead, Deputy County Manager Fred Jarman, said, “Rehabilitating the historic iron Hardwick Bridge, which is owned by the county, and placing it back into public service became an important centerpiece of this trail project.”

It’s believed that the Hardwick Bridge was originally built in 1890 when county commissioners relocated the Cooper Avenue Bridge south to create a passage across the river in the area. It was then placed on Hardwick Family Ranch, from which the bridge derives its name, and was rebuilt in 1923.

“The county is proud to be a partner with the School District, RFTA, and the Ironbridge and West Bank neighborhoods in such an important project that provides a safe route for kids to get to school as well as an important regional trail connection to the Rio Grande Trail for the public,” Jarman said.

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