ROYAL GORGE BRIDGE & PARK BEGINS REBUILD PROCESS
CAÑON CITY, Colo. (September 19, 2013) – The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, Cañon City, Colo., is moving at “warp” speed to re-open a new park by Mid-May 2014, said Mike Bandera, Vice President and General Manager, after 90 percent of the park was destroyed by the Royal Gorge Fire, June 11, 2013. Construction is slated to begin in October. “Demolition is finished and we’re ready to build,” he said.
Preliminary drawings of the layout and buildings for the park were presented at an informational meeting for local subcontractors this week in Cañon City by The Beck Group, Denver, Colo., the chosen design and construction firm for the project. Bandera said the theme for the design concept centers around “the unique Colorado look using wood, lots of glass and natural materials in the buildings.”
Frank Eppink, Regional Manager for The Beck Group said, “The good news is the Bridge is in great shape,” adding, “we are fast tracking design and construction for the Park reconstruction.” Local interest in jobs spurred the meeting with over 50 interested subcontractors attending. “We want as much local involvement as possible,” Eppink said, “This Park belongs to the community.”
He said the firm is working simultaneously tweaking design concepts daily and beginning the construction process. “We will be working through the winter,” he said. The firm will begin the project quickly by laying foundations, and rebuilding the water and sewer systems before winter sets in.
“The preliminary drawings show a beautiful Northside Visitor Center with about 20,000 square feet,” said Bandera. He stated all focus is on getting the park open for next summer’s tourist season. The large visitor center will replace several smaller buildings on the North side of the Bridge.
By Mid-May next year Bandera said they plan on opening a brand new Northside Visitor Center with a new tram and zip line, incline railway, the mini-train, and a large children’s play area on the Southside side of the Bridge. The Skycoaster, the park’s internationally known thrill ride will also be in operation as it did not suffer any fire damage. During the fire, 48 buildings and attractions out of 52 were totally destroyed and nearly 3,000 acres in the Royal Gorge area.
The Royal Gorge Bridge is 84 years old and has greeted over 26 million guests since it opened. The Bridge was the world’s highest suspension bridge in 1929 and held the record for approximately 75 years. The Bridge was one of the few remaining structures left relatively unscathed from the Royal Gorge Fire 2013.