Colo. town celebrates opening of replacement bridge

Updated May 23, 2018
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On May 8, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held in Lyons, Colorado, to celebrate the opening of the new McConnell Bridge over St. Vrain Creek, which connects U.S. 36 with McConnell Drive, the Times-Call reports. The old bridge was destroyed during the 2013 flood when 17 inches of rain fell in just eight days.

During the event, Lyons Mayor Connie Sullivan commented on the resilience of the town’s residents in their flood recovery efforts. Additional speakers included representatives from the offices of U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, as well as state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Department of Local Affairs officials.

“It’s amazing to see how long it takes to recover from an event like this. I hate to say the federal government doesn’t always make it that much easier — it makes it a little harder sometimes — even though there are great resources we’re able to provide,” said Jake Thompson, regional director of Bennet’s office, according to the news agency. “Senators Bennett and Gardner and Congressman (Jared) Polis, we’ve been trying our best to cut the red tape. Even last week, we had to engage FEMA about a number of projects here in Boulder County that have been held up or not reimbursed. We are ready to stand by you and help continue your work.”

The $2.2 million project was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Colorado Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program. The new bridge is said to have a more flood-resistant design than the previous bridge.

“After today, people are going to drive across this bridge, and probably a lot of them aren’t going to think anything of it, but for the people who lived here for five years, none of us will cross this bridge without the biggest smile on our face, because we’ll know exactly what went into this,” Sullivan said, according to the news agency. “And I think the people who live here will get a kick out of watching people come back and forth with these silly grins on their faces for the next several months.”