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Christo’s “Over The River” Postponed until 2015

Following intense criticism, Christo’s planned “Over The River” project has been pushed back until 2015. The installation, which would involve suspending nearly 6 miles of fabric along a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River in Colorado, was originally planned for 2001. It’s been pushed back numerous times, to 2003, 2008, and then 2014.

Sketch of the Proposed Project, Image from the Denver Post

The group Rags Over the Arkansas River had heavily protested the proposed installation in the beginning of the month. There were many arguments against the project. Some said that the project would ruin the natural  beauty of the landscape. Others were concerned about the environmental impact, and the safety of commuters traveling winding canyon roads. Many were concerned about the 2-year setup required for a project that would only stay up for 2 weeks. The group as a whole expressed frustration that the desires of the local population seemed to be forgotten entirely. Fremont County Sheriff James Beicker even opposed the project on the grounds that it would pose a terrorist threat. (Yes, really.)

Some of these claims sound just a little overblown, but it’s easy to understand concerns about safety and environmental impact. ROAR has filed not just one, but two lawsuits aimed at blocking the project – one targeted at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Board and one at the Bureau of Land Management.

Still, it’s looking like the project may actually happen in three years, barring any further delays. The Interior Board of Appeals declined to issue a stay of the BLM’s approval of the project in January, which Christo’s spokesman called “a green light.”

The delay was a voluntary one on Christo’s part, designed to both extend the construction period and allow him to share emergency-management plans to help quell some of the fears associated with the project.