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Ride On: The Stope is Fixed!

Leadville’s mining heritage is hard to miss, even if you’re just passing through town the harvests and gleanings of Lake County’s most profitable industry are all around. Its very name speaks to the carbonate mineral extracted from the ground where it all began. Therefore if you spend any time here you’re bound to learn a few things about the industry and how relevant it still is to everyday life. In fact, the recent work completed on Leadville’s popular Mineral Belt Trail is a perfect example of that: the stope has been fixed!

While the eastside mining district is littered with stopes, there was one that recently got a lot of attention, because, quite frankly, it needed some! For regular Mineral Belt Trail users the sinking asphalt along the trail between the County Road 2 and East 5th Street/County Road 1 was a telltale sign that the ground below was unstable. And every season it sunk a little lower until finally unable to remain open unless repairs were made the Committee bit the bullet and made the half-million-dollar repair which began with the design work in February 2020 and wrapped up ahead of schedule (despite the COVID pandemic) on July 1. The job was done by EST, Inc., an engineering firm from Denver with Montano Concrete rounding out the design-build team. Project Engineer Amy Backel picks up the story from here:

“EST, Inc. designed two custom steel bridges for the Mineral Belt Trail system,” Backel explained adding that the team understood the importance of the trail system for recreational users year-round and its preservation of the mining history of Leadville.  “EST designed a weathering steel beam bridge system with bridge planks supporting an asphalt surface that will be low maintenance, support the Caterpillar 950 design vehicle, and provide a 75-year design life.”

The light structural components allowed smaller equipment to be used for installation. Backel explains that this strategy limited the potential for trail damage while they were making the fix. Can you imagine what getting outriggers for cranes on those steep slopes littered with stopes might have been like? So it’s a job #welldone for the great vision and critical thinking this design and implementation team put forth. Leadville appreciates your hard work and professionalism as well as getting it done ahead of schedule.  Please put this crew on the #shortlist

(for more of the story – please select the link in the title)