COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- It's been two years since the Colorado Department of Transportation said it would perform more lasting repairs to a bridge on 31st Street between U.S. 24/Cimarron Street and Colorado Avenue on the city's west side.
Since then, complaints that we first reported in 2019 have continued -- that the bridge is crumbling, is full of potholes that create bumpy driving, and requires constant repairs.
When CDOT broke ground on a U.S. 24 repaving project in June of 2019, the agency said it had heard the complaints and would include a resurfacing of the aging, deteriorating bridge as part of the project.
However, on Friday, CDOT said that funding for the bridge work ran short, and the bridge project is now in a design phase with the intent of starting construction late next spring.
The project, expected to cost around $1 million, is more than a resurfacing but not quite a full replacement, which would double the price.
CDOT said that the project is part of a $5 million upgrade that will include two other local bridges -- on State Highway 16 above U.S. 85/87, and on Interstate 25 above Nevada Avenue and Tejon Street.
Those two bridges, CDOT said, will receive an application of an "expensive " material designed to protect concrete structures and make them more waterproof.
"But with 31st Street, we're looking at going underneath, fixing the channel, some issues with erosion around the abutments and the foundation, all the way up through the deck and the roadway surface," said John Hall, a CDOT engineer.
Although the project could have received federal funding through COVID-19 recovery or the American Jobs Plan, CDOT said that around $20 million in COVID relief was allocated to an overpass project -- scheduled to start this year -- at the intersection of Powers Boulevard and Research Parkway.
Next to the current Interstate 25 "Gap" widening project, the overpass is considered the area's highest transportation priority.
Charles Stock, a local driver, hopes to see the project finished as soon as possible.
"Maybe they'll do it next year, maybe not," he said. "It's an old railroad bridge. If CDOT doesn't act soon, we could lose it."
Kristen Combs moved to the area in January.
"I'd heard that people were frustrated with the progress (of the bridge)," she said. "You can understand it when people pay taxes, complain and nothing happens. I'm glad that a better bridge is coming."