Public safety concerns close pedestrian bridges to Denver's Bible Park

That can mean a bit of a hike to get inside the Denver park. And don't expect the bridges to be back until next year.

DENVER - Neighbors near Bible Park in southeast Denver are learning the lesson that convenience sometimes has to take a backseat to public safety.

With that said, picture Arnold Schwarzenegger reading this next story to you as it begins with the phrase, "The Bridge is Out!"

 

Three pedestrian bridges that connect neighborhoods to Bible Park in southeast Denver are now closed for repairs.

Denver Parks and Recreation closed the bridges because they are no longer structurally sound.

"It just makes it kind of inconvenient to use the park," runner Andrew Benham said. "Since they closed the one on the other side, you can't get into it there, so you have to go all the way up to Yale from Hampden, to be able to get into the park."

The city has maps on the barricades at each bridge crossing showing how to detour around. Depending on where you live, the shortest detour is just less than a quarter mile, while the longest detour is a mile, give or take.

"I was thinking about tweeting the city of Denver, or asking them, 'Hey, when will the bridges be open?'" Behman said.

He can actually do that now that the city of Denver just started Twitter on Monday (hello: 2007).

9NEWS got tipped off to the closed bridges when Bible Park neighbor, Betsy Anderson, told us the bridge closest to her home off Quebec Street closed in the middle of a morning walk.

"Early in the morning, the bridge was open, we came back and the closed sign was up," Anderson said. "If it was safe enough for me to walk over it in the morning at eight o'clock, then it should have been at 11 o'clock."

The timeline bothers Anderson as much as the closures.

"This says it may not even be fixed until 2018," Anderson said. "[The detour] only adds like three or four minutes, but we're a healthy young couple, but a lot of people in the neighborhood, it's a lot more difficult for them."

The city is ready to rebuild two of the three bridges, which cost $250,000 each. The south bridge, off Quebec Street and East Cornell Avenue, has funding ready to go, but likely won't be built until 2018.

The east bridge, off Quebec Street and East Amherst Avenue also won't get started until 2018. The city does not currently have the money to rebuild the west bridge, in the neighborhood at South Newport Street and East Bates Avenue.

Anderson wants to know why park fees to reserve the tennis courts or ballfields are not used to repair the bridges.

A parks spokeswoman said those fees go into a general fund for the city of Denver, not even specifically for Parks and Recreation.

Since the bridges go across the Highline Canal, Denver Water is involved in the process. Denver Water prefers construction not to take place between April and October, so the city may be limited to the fall and winter, which is why the bridges may not get rebuilt until next year.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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