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Release Date: 06/27/11
Contacts: Tom Alvarez, Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 244-3097    

Public Safety Guides Collaborative Improvements in Bridgeport Area

Grand Junction, Colo. — The Bureau of Land Management in cooperation with Union Pacific Railroad and Mesa County, is moving forward on a joint project to improve public safety for visitors to the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area at Bridgeport.

After receiving input from the public at a June 2010 meeting, the BLM worked closely with the railroad and county to examine several different options for moving horseback riders and hikers away from railroad tracks that lay along an access route in the area.   The BLM has now approved one of those crossing locations, and will begin coordinating with county and railroad staff on final designs for a tunnel under the railroad tracks.  The approved crossing location will bring hikers and horseback riders under the tracks, near a pedestrian footbridge over the Gunnison River.  As part of this project the BLM will also construct a new trailhead, with parking area, a restroom facility, and new trail alignment to guide the public away from the tracks.  Additional details for this project are contained in a recently completed Environmental Assessment now posted on the BLM Grand Junction Field Office website.
“While we still have some work ahead of us before construction, including additional access, scientific and technical work, this decision marks an important step closer to putting this project on the ground,” said Katie A. Stevens, NCA Manager for Dominguez-Escalante. 

“We at Union Pacific appreciate all the effort on both the public and private sides in dealing with Bridgeport issue.  The safety of the public is the priority for all of us.  From our perspective, the discussions and the effort put into the EA are a good step forward,” said Dick Hartman, Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific.

Full completion of the project could be a few years away.  The BLM needs to determine a final structure design, engineering needs and funding. Until then the BLM still cautions recreational users in the area to maintain safe distance from trains and railroad facilities, structures and equipment. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  2815 H Road      Grand Junction, CO 81506  

Last updated: 10-03-2011