Bridgehunter’s Chronicles Newsflyer: 12 June, 2013
Spanning the Arkansas River near Canon City, the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge still represents one of the best kept secrets as far as its historic significance is concerned. Built in 1929 with the main span of 880 feet and a total length of 1280 feet, its height over the Arkansas River has yet to be broken in the US- 965 feet to be exact. It had held the world record until the Millau Viaduct in France opened in 2004 and is still the fourth highest bridge in the world. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and has been a place where stunts took place, whether it was bungee jumping or flying over and under the bridge, even though some of the stunts were fatal. A park was built surrounding the bridge where tourists can enjoy not only the bridge but its splendid view.
Now the bridge and the surrounding faciulities are facing a pains-taking task of rebuilding after a brush fire swept through the region yesterday, destroying at least three buildings at the park and causing damage to the decking of the unique suspension bridge. The fire was caused by lighting combined with dry conditions and has spread to include 3800 acres, marching its way toward Canon City. Thousands of people have already been vacuated and work has now focused on containment of the fire. Links to the fire can be found at the end of this article. According to officials, the suspension bridge is still in tact, which may be a blessing, given the rehabilitation done on the bridge in 1983, which featured new suspension cables and reinforcing the decking. There is hope that the suspension bridge itself, if it survives the fire, will be repaired and reopened to pedestrian traffic in a short time. Yet the park and the buildings on both ends will need to be rebuilt as damage to both areas are substantial. The Chronicles will keep you posted on the latest on the Royal Gorge Bridge and the fire that seems to be out of control at the time of this posting. Thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the fire.