CLEARFIELD — The dilapidated 800 North bridge over the former Denver & Rio Grande Railroad tracks near the Clearfield-Clinton border is coming down soon — as early as later this year if government officials get their way.

Located at 950 West and west of the Clinton Cemetery, the bridge has been declared structurally deficient by the state bridge engineer.

Thanks to almost $1.5 million in emergency funding from the Wasatch Front Regional Council and $51,000 each from Clearfield and Clinton, the overpass will be demolished and replaced with a culvert type of crossing.

The culvert will still allow users of a foot trail through the former railroad corridor to safely pass under the busy roadway.

Scott Hodge, Clearfield public works director, said the overpass was first identified as a safety hazard in 2004. That's when the city budgeted $159,000 — which it still has — to fortify the bridge. Now Clearfield's share of the demolition work can come from that fund. He said Clearfield has already expended $7,000 in engineering fees on the overpass.

The culvert will still mean the roadway will have a hump in it but not nearly the height it currently has with a full railroad overpass. However, the current section of trail under the bridge will have to be torn up and replaced as part of the overall process. The 800 North street will also have to be closed during the demolition and work.

The current bridge is likely 40 years old or more.

Councilwoman Kathryn Murray said the intersection near the overpass is dangerous.

Clinton city manager Dennis Cluff has suggested eventually putting a roundabout there as an inexpensive way to solve traffic problems. A traffic signal would be considerably more costly.

The bridge would cost many more millions of dollars to replace than the culvert. However, the Utah Transit Authority currently has the right of way through the former railroad corridor. UTA has indicated it may want to remove the foot trail within 20 to 30 years and install a light-rail, TRAX kind of system, through the area.

If that light-rail plan ever comes to be, both Clinton and Clearfield will be obligated to rebuild a full-size railroad overpass over 800 North again.

There's nothing wrong with the other, nearby railroad overpass to the east, which traverses the Union Pacific tracks. However, Clearfield is still shoring up its 200 South railroad overpass, plagued by construction deficiencies.

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