Good Participation at SH 82 Grand Ave. Bridge Public Open House
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Residents, business owners and other members of the Glenwood Springs community attended an open house held by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to review and comment on project refinements and new options being studied in the Grand Avenue Bridge Environmental Assessment (EA). These options include a new pedestrian bridge to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections downtown.
At least 162 people attended the open house to learn more about the project and provide input about how the project will look and function. Attendees viewed exhibits about the identified alignment with a 6th and Laurel signalized intersection, various highway and pedestrian bridge types, and constructability and traffic impacts. Discussion groups located throughout the exhibits created the opportunity for group discussion and direct feedback to the project team.
“The discussion points and ideas we received were recorded on flipcharts during the open house,” CDOT’s Region 3 East Program Engineer Joe Elsen said, “These will be incorporated into the ongoing development and refinement of alternatives.”
As the project team looked at how the Grand Avenue Bridge might be built, it was found that a new pedestrian bridge would have multiple benefits by better addressing project goals and reducing the project’s overall construction impacts. The next step is to narrow down the bridge types for both Grand Avenue and the new pedestrian bridge. At the open house, several options for both bridges and their combinations were presented so that attendees could weigh in on which types together best fit the context of Glenwood Springs.
The options to improve pedestrian and bicycle connectivity on the north and south sides of the bridge continue to be developed and refined. The project team has developed an option on the south end that would be compatible with a potential alternative at 8th Street that is being considered under the ongoing Access Control Plan. On the north end, design options include ramps and stairs to the Hot Springs Pool parking lot and a potential connection to the Two Rivers Park Trail. This responds to the community’s desire to enhance connectivity to existing pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Participants were asked to consider how each of the options best met project criteria; this will help the project team evaluate which option to incorporate into the EA.
“Overall, the comments we received on a new pedestrian bridge and improved connections at both ends were very favorable,” Elsen said. “We also heard some good suggestions about how to better unite the designs of the new Grand Avenue Bridge and the new pedestrian bridge.”
The project team also sought input from the public on a potential construction detour route. Analysis has determined that to reconstruct the bridge, Grand Avenue would have to be closed for an anticipated two months or less during the off-peak season. The detour route along Midland Avenue between the West Glenwood Exit and 27thStreet would require some local improvements to make it work. One of the discussion groups focused on getting attendees’ comments, concerns and additional ideas that will be considered as the bridge design and methods of construction are determined.
CDOT has initiated the process of selecting a contractor for the project and hopes to have the contractor on board by spring. The contractor will work hand-in-hand with the project team during the design, as construction phasing methods and schedules are determined.
“Our team was once again encouraged by the level of participation this community has demonstrated, Elsen said. “Each step of our process adds more definition. The team will use the public input to identify both the Grand Avenue and pedestrian bridge types that will be evaluated. With the footprint of the project determined, the Environmental Assessment to evaluate potential impacts of the project can start in earnest.”
Next steps include finalizing the alternatives and options for the EA and preparing it for agency review, which could be complete by the end of this year. The goal is to have the decision document from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) by spring of 2014 so that final design can begin. Construction could start in early 2015.
CDOT will continue to meet with the project stakeholders and interested groups. The project team provides regular updates to the Glenwood Springs City Council and the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners. Interested individuals and groups are encouraged to contact Joe Elsen to schedule a project briefing or presentation.
CDOT and the FHWA are conducting the EA. The open house exhibits are part of the background information and documentation on the project that are posted at www.sh82grandavenuebridge.com. Those wanting to receive project updates can sign up via CDOT’s free message system by going to www.coloradodot.info and clicking on green cell phone in the upper right hand side of the page. After signing in, scroll down to “Projects” and choose “SH 82 Aspen to Glenwood.”
The project is funded through the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, a government-owned business entity within CDOT. The Colorado General assembly created the statewide Bridge Enterprise via Senate Bill 09-108, also known as FASTER (Funding Advancements for Surface Treatment and Economic Recovery www.coloradodot.info/projects/faster).The purpose of the Bridge Enterprise is to complete designated bridge projects that involve the financing, repair, reconstruction and replacement of bridges designated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and rated “poor” by CDOT.