Colorado River Bridge Moab

The only road into Moab, Utah crosses the Colorado River just east of town. The bridge spanning the river at that point required replacement in the late 2000s, and with as little environmental impact as possible. The Colorado Bridge project was born.

The design of the project (by Figg Engineering) employed a balanced double cantilever construction that resulted in only two points of contact with the river’s floodplain below, thus minimizing the impact on the river. The balanced cantilever construction was the first of its kind in Utah.

The main challenge of the project, as with many projects, was the short schedule. In a mere 659 working days, the first bridge was installed, the old bridge removed, and the second bridge installed — all without slowing traffic flow into or out of the city. The project ended 45 days ahead of schedule.

Wadsworth Brothers completed the construction of a $38.5 million concrete segment bridge over the Colorado River in Moab, Utah. This is the first concrete segmental bridge to be constructed in Utah and utilizes a unique form traveler system called Bridge Builder that was manufactured in China.

Each twin segment bridge over the river is more than 1,000 feet long and was built using cast-in-place, cantilever post-tensioned segmental construction with form travelers. 
Wadsworth Brothers installed two piers, one of which is in the middle of the river about 15 feet below the streambed and gravel. The pier in the river was constructed by installing a 40-foot-square sheet pile cell designed to withstand high flows. Several large 7-foot-diameter caissons were built to support the piers and are at a depth of 150 feet.

Gracefully blending with the surrounding Red Rock scenery, the center span of the bridges arch 438 feet between the piers, and the end spans are 292 feet from the piers to the riverbanks. Over 14,000 cubic yards of concrete and over 3,000,000 pounds of steel were used. The company received an Excellence in Concrete Construction Award from The American Concrete Institute for its innovative work.

The bridge was designed with an environmentally sensitive approach providing a less intrusive footprint on the surroundings and the river flood plain and took 20 months to build. The project will improve traffic safety and include tie-ins for local bike and pedestrian trails and is projected to meet traffic demands through the year 2035.



Completion Date

January 2011


Moab, Grand County, UT


2011 – Transportation Project of the Year
ENR Mountain States

2011 – Excellence in Concrete-Public Works
ACI Intermountain-American Concrete Institute