Dotsero, CO – Bridge
The Dotsero Bridge is a bridge that spans the Colorado River. This is a bridge in Dotsero, CO. The old bridge, demolished in 2013, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
More information about the Dotsero Bridge can be found at:
National Register of Historic Places – Dotsero Bridge
Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) – I-70 Bridge Replacement in Dotsero
Wikipedia – List of bridges on the National Register of Historic Places in Colorado
For early travelers in the nineteenth century, there was no easy way to cross the Colorado River.
Pioneers followed the Eagle and Colorado rivers through the Rockies, using a dirt trail that dated back thousands of years. Travelers reached the Colorado here, just above the river’s junction with the Eagle, and had to ford or ferry across—a short but dangerous voyage through swift, unpredictable currents.
Dotter’s first bridge, a log-and-plank structure, was built in 1883 to help miners reach booming gold fields in the Flat Top Mountains. Spring floods demolished it in 1884. A second one opened in 1887 and stood until 1900, when state officials placed a steel bridge at Dotsero. By then the old pioneer trail had become part of State Road No. 1, a dirt highway linking Denver to Grand Junction, and a secure river crossing was necessary to serve traffic on this important east-west route.
Across the Decades
The “green bridge” spanned the Colorado for more than 75 years.
Designed in the horse-and-buggy era, the 1900 bride wasn’t suited for the heavy vehicles and high speeds of the auto age. In the 1930s the Denver-Grand Junction highway (then designated U.S. 24) got an $11 million makeover, with paved surfaces and sturdier bridges—including a sparkling new Parker Truss across the Colorado River at Dotsero.
Known locally as “the green bridge,” the span was a marvel. Old-timers who remembered coaxing mules and freight wagons across the rickety 1887 bridge could now cruise over the river at 60 miles an hour. Such infrastructure improvements made mountain travel easier, faster, and cheaper than ever, setting the stage for decades of growth in Colorado commerce and tourism.
Length: 150 feet
Builders: Horner & Switzer
Fabricators: Midwest Steel & Iron Works
Added to National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 2002“