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DENVER HAS DYNAMITE PROPOSAL TO BRIDGE ITS DISTANCE FROM HOLLYWOOD

SHARE DENVER HAS DYNAMITE PROPOSAL TO BRIDGE ITS DISTANCE FROM HOLLYWOOD

If Hollywood ever does a remake of "The Bridge on the River Kwai," Denver has a bridge it'd like to sell.

Even if some enterprising producer has only the germ of an idea for a film that includes a big bridge blow-up, Denver has a bargain basement buy: a viaduct.With the rickety Central Platte Valley viaducts fated for demolition, Councilwoman Debbie Ortega has come up with an idea to give Denver more bang for its buck.

Let Hollywood use a viaduct for a movie that calls for the hero - in this case the viaduct - to die a spectacular death. Allow the movie industry to blow up the viaduct.

Ortega, who has made viaduct replacement a top issue in her council district, thinks it's the best way to get the job done at low cost to the city.

City and state officials, always casting for ways to get film crews in the state, think the idea is dynamite.

"We're talking to the economic development people about writing a couple of ads for Variety and the trade papers," said Karol Smith, director of the Colorado Motion Picture and Television Advisory Commission. "Just to say something like, `Does somebody want to blow up this bridge?' "

Ortega made the suggestion at a reception the commission hosted for about 14 Hollywood production companies. The guests were treated to a tour of the state coinciding with the Aspen Film Festival.

So far, there have been no nibbles.

Council President Cathy Donohue, who was at the reception, also likes the idea.

"Some of the producers asked us if we were serious, and we said we were," Donohue said. "We don't really mean for it to be a joke. We want the bridges to come down anyway. One doesn't have to come down until spring so there's plenty of time to write a script."

Bob Dorroh, a traffic engineer for the city, said it could save some money but would still face costs. Removal of one viaduct, for example, is budgeted at $2.5 million.

"At first, it sounds like a flaky idea," Dorroh said. Of course, that doesn't rule it out in Hollywood.

Although politicians don't normally like to burn their bridges, Mayor Federico Pena is taking this one seriously."He thinks it's worth exploring," said his spokesman, Tom Gleason. "He didn't say absolutely not."