Visitors getting front-row seats to bridge construction | PostIndependent.com

Visitors getting front-row seats to bridge construction

Suzy Alcott and Elaine Benson

Here at the Glenwood Springs Visitor Center, having a front-row seat for the demolition of the "old," 1953 Grand Avenue Bridge has been interesting and amusing and educational, to say the least. Thanks to CMC we have live coverage of the actual construction, and Garfield County is providing live video from Lookout Mountain of all main arteries leading into Glenwood.

We could, and maybe should, proclaim the destruction of said bridge a new tourist attraction for Glenwood. People are sitting in the window seats at local coffee shops and restaurants, lingering over their treats as they watch the work. Kids stand in awe looking at the giant toy trucks.

Haven't we all experienced the desire to just knock something down and start over? Well here it is, larger than life. Many visitors and local residents are watching from the new pedestrian bridge as they walk/bike into downtown, and it provides photo ops for all ages.

Folks love the elevator. Do not expect the "B" button to take you to the basement, though. "B" is for bridge and "G" is for ground level. Come on now, surely some of you have had that problem. Also, let's say thanks to all of the hard-hatted, yellow-vested street workers who show us how to get around. Glenwood is definitely open for business.

Our tourists have been quite happy this summer. They are saying this is so obviously a huge project, not just the usual summer construction, and they plan to come back next summer to see how really cool it all turns out to be. As we have mentioned before, many are coming from large urban areas which are under forever-construction and this just seems to be a "blip" in their stay in Glenwood. They like the sales and specials in the shops.

They like the positive service staff and wait staff, who offer helpful directions and humorous takes on the city. Above all, many remark on the beauty of the Roaring Fork Valley.

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We do need to laugh with the crowd and look at ourselves come December and realize this, too, actually did pass and we are still here in one of the most beautiful towns on Earth. A year from now we'll be tired of hearing all the exclamations from our visitors on how quickly the bridge project came to completion. No, really, we will.

Every day the visitor center receives calls from potential visitors asking for our vacation planners so they can begin preparation for their visits to Glenwood Springs. There is a little concern over the construction, but not enough to deter them from visiting. August was busy, with guests from just about everywhere in the U.S. and overseas.

Our summer student interns were great in helping us with stocking the shelves, answering the phones and guiding visitors to all that Glenwood has to offer.

Sometimes giving information to foreign visitors takes a lot of hand signals and facial expressions, and they did a wonderful job helping out. We wish them good luck as they start back to school at Glenwood Springs and Coal Ridge high schools, and Colorado Mesa University.

Now, the old bridge is down and the new bridge is coming up. The Doc Holliday "satellite" Museum at Eighth and Grand in the Bullock's building is drawing lots of interest and we have witnessed a nearly full eclipse of the sun. Nature and history and construction — oh, my!

Suzy Alcott and Elaine Benson are visitor information specialists at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

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