GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The state funding entity that will be paying to replace the Grand Avenue Bridge on Highway 82 recommends a ramp and stairwell over an elevator as the most cost-effective way to provide access from Seventh Street to a new pedestrian bridge that’s part of the larger project.
City Council is set to take up the question tonight whether to have the Colorado Department of Transportation planning team design an elevator or ramp in order to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, and to provide bicycle access to the pedestrian bridge across the Colorado River.
Council postponed the discussion from a meeting last month in order to get some questions answered about which option would best meet the handicapped access requirement.
The state’s Civil Rights & Business Resource Center has indicated that either a ramp or a design with two elevators would be adequate, as long as a backup plan is in place to provide access in the event of power outage or other disruption in elevator service.
But the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, which is providing $60 million in state FASTER funds to replace the Glenwood Springs highway bridge, says it prefers a ramp.
“CBE’s position given a choice between multiple alternatives compliant with regulatory requirements would result in the lower overall cost option,” said CBE Deputy Program Manager Matthew Cirulli in a letter to the Glenwood council.
For that reason, the CBE recommends the ramp/stairwell option, he said.
The recommendation “does not preclude the city from selecting an elevator for ADA access,” but CBE would only pay for an elevator or a ramp, not both, Cirulli said.
If an elevator is chosen, the city would have to be responsible for its future upkeep and any security measures, he said.
City Council also has dueling recommendations from different city advisory boards about whether to pursue an elevator or ramp.
The new bridge would replace the existing structure that spans the railroad tracks, the Colorado River and Interstate 70, from Seventh Street on the south to Sixth Street on the north.
Elevator proponents have suggested than an open-air, lift type of elevator would alleviate some of the safety concerns associated with an enclosed elevator.
Also on council’s agenda for tonight’s meeting will be consideration of an ordinance establishing zoning and licensing requirements for retail marijuana businesses in Glenwood Springs.
A request to rezone the downtown area west of Pitkin Avenue in the 800 block from multi-family residential to commercial will also be heard.