Over 1,500 People Have Viewed Grand Avenue Bridge Model
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Over 1,500 people have reviewed the Grand Avenue Bridge scale model at Strawberry Days, the Downtown Market and at City Hall. This has generated comments and ideas on what the project should look like and questions about when decisions will get made.
Joe Elsen, CDOT’s Region 3 East Program Engineer said, “The response has been fantastic. We’ve had a constant crowd at the Tuesday Downtown Market viewing the models. There is a wide range of opinions, and we’ve answered many questions.”
The project team has developed a Build Alternative that is currently being evaluated in an Environmental Assessment (EA) process, undergoing several steps of agency review. The full EA document is planned for public review in December or January.
The Build Alternative includes construction of a new SH 82 bridge across the Colorado River, following a new alignment connecting Grand Avenue downtown directly with I-70 Exit 116. A new connection would be built to 6th Street, which would no longer carry SH 82 traffic. In addition, a new pedestrian bridge would carry utility lines and improve pedestrian connections between the Hot Springs Pool area and downtown south of the Colorado River.
Based upon the agency and public review of the EA, a Preferred Alternative will be selected and a set of mitigation commitments developed for final approval by CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) by mid-2014.
After final agency approval, construction could begin on the project by late 2014, following design and right-of-way purchase. Current estimates show construction taking approximately two years.
Over the next several months CDOT will be requesting input from the City on landscaping, urban design, and other architectural elements of the project.
“While decisions on these elements rely on approval by FHWA and the Colorado Bridge Enterprise (CBE), this input will help the project team better match the needs of the project with the context of Glenwood Springs,” Elsen said.
To support this decision process, CDOT is engaging a focus group with representatives from CDOT, FHWA, CBE and the City. The group is charged with making recommendations on specific improvements based on the needs and goals of the project developed with input from project stakeholders.
The overall decision process is also part of a larger Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process defined as “a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources, while maintaining safety and mobility.” A local Project Leadership Team (PLT) champions this process. The PLT includes representatives from The City of Glenwood Springs, Garfield County, Eagle County, Pitkin County, Glenwood’s Historic Preservation Commission, Glenwood’s Downtown Development Authority, the Glenwood Springs Resort Chamber Resort Association, City Council, CBE, CDOT, FHWA, and the consultant team.
“We have a whole set of criteria we’ve been using based on the project needs and goals,” Elsen said. “These range from providing a safe facility to minimizing impacts to historic properties to providing an aesthetically pleasing project. Within all of this, we need to keep costs reasonable, given the numerous other competing projects throughout the state.”
The bridge model is now on display in the lobby of the Glenwood Springs City Hall, 101 West 8th Street. The model will also be displayed bi-weekly at the Downtown Market in Centennial Park Tuesdays from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
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 Recoverywww.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.