Historic Bridge Rededicated in Cedar Hill

May 10, 2024

San Juan County officials rededicated the old Cedar Hill Bridge for pedestrian use 110 years after the bridge was first built on April 30th. The bridge was installed by residents in 1914, and for much of its life, the bridge served as the area’s main Animas River crossing. The bridge now connects a two-mile walking loop in Cedar Hill. By Connor Shreve. This Story is sponsored by Ace Hardware of Farmington and The Big Idea Makerspace at San Juan College.

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San Juan County - https://www.sjcounty.net/

Ace Hardware of Farmington - https://www.acehardware.com/store-details/17965
The Big Idea Makerspace at San Juan College - https://www.sanjuancollege.edu/thebigidea/

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A historic bridge in Cedar Hill has returned to its original glory, and residents are rejoicing. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Ace Hardware of Farmington and the Big Idea Makerspace at San Juan College. I'm Connor Shreve. San Juan County officials rededicated the old Cedar Hill Bridge and opened it to pedestrians 110 years after the bridge first became operational. San Juan County Public Works director Nick Porell says, "The restoration was no small feat."

You know, there's no real playbook on how to repair a 100 old structure that had no associated engineering drawings. So it really, a good amount of the credit goes to the engineer that we hired, Geoman Engineering and the contractor TRC, for willing to take on a project like this that, you know, they did take on some risks. And it goes to show that there was an interest in preserving this piece of our history.

Cedar Hill resident James Woosley says the bridge was one of the things that attracted him to the area. And its reopening represents a victory for his neighbors.

When it was shut down for seven years, I mean, it was devastating. It really, really was. It was in ill repair, but when they really actually shut it down, it was devastating to the community. But as we started working through it and going to our commissioners and above them, you know, we worked really, really hard, wrote a lot of letters. And once we found out what was going to happen, we got a grant. Oh, it was back on again. You could just really tell the community really, really liked it.

County commissioner Steve Lanier was one of the people who pushed for the Bridge's restoration. In part, because of the nostalgia he has for it, having grown up on his grandparents' farm nearby.

This community, they use it every day. So whether it's a horse coming across, or bicycles, or just people walking. And you can tell if you just look around how awesome the river is, how quiet it is here, other than you can hear the sound of the birds and the river. And it's just an awesome place to grow up.

Nearly as old as New Mexico itself, the bridge is a nod to the catalog bridges of the time. Which were pre-fabricated, shipped, then assembled on site. In this case, by Cedar Hill residents in 1914. Woosley is happy the bridge can once again be the centerpiece of his community.

I think it actually really brings the community back together again. You know, everybody that lives here for a long period of time, has always used this loop. And if you live right here, you can walk this loop, and it's 2.2 miles. And you see bikers, you see, I don't know if you saw all the little kids here. It's an amazing thing. People swim here, jump off the flume. It's just a very, very fantastic place.

San Juan County is exploring the possibility of listing the Cedar Hill Bridge in the National Register of Historic Places. For more information about this and other stories, visit farmingtonlocal.news. Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network, I'm Connor Shreve.


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