EA for South Bridge in Glenwood Springs open for public comments
Ryan Summerlin October 25, 2013
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Citizens can now weigh in on the draft environmental assessment for the proposed Glenwood Springs South Bridge, even though the future of the estimated $39 million project remains in limbo absent construction funding.
The EA was officially released this week, analyzing the long-envisioned proposal to build a southern route from Midland Avenue and Airport Road across the Roaring Fork River to State Highway 82 south of Glenwood Springs.
The project involves a partnership between the city of Glenwood Springs, Garfield County, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.
Written comments on the study will be accepted through Nov. 21, with an opportunity to provide oral comments at an open house from 5-7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.
The formal presentation of the EA, followed by a time for questions and answers, is scheduled from 6-7 p.m. that evening.
“The purpose of the South Bridge project is to identify a critical second route between Highway 82 and the west side of the Roaring Fork River in the southern portion of Glenwood Springs,” according to the EA.
The proposal came in response to a 2005 congressional earmark that began the EA process.
Funding to do the study was secured after concerns arose following the 2002 Coal Seam Fire that Glenwood Springs did not have a secondary evacuation route for that section of town, as well as the Four- and Three-Mile valleys, in the event of a wildfire or other natural disaster.
“The project will address identified transportation needs, such as lack of emergency vehicle access route redundancy and increasing mobility issues along the current primary access route [Midland Avenue] caused by increased growth in the area,” according to the EA.
The study includes a preferred alternative to eventually build a new bridge connecting Airport Road to Highway 82 just south of the Holy Cross Energy headquarters in the Red Canyon Road area.
The connection would include a tunnel beneath the south end of the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport runway to the new bridge across the Roaring Fork River, and a new signalized intersection at Highway 82.
As envisioned, the project would also include a roundabout at the intersection of Midland Avenue, Four Mile Road and Airport Road, and a major upgrade of Airport Road.
For the time being, however, the South Bridge project is lacking actual construction dollars.
The city of Glenwood and Garfield County recently teamed up in an effort to obtain $30 million through the Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) public partnerships grant program.
Word came last month that the Glenwood project was not among the more than $349 million worth of projects awarded funding by the state.
Under the proposal, the city and the county had each agreed to cover 10 percent of the estimated $39 million cost to continue work on the South Bridge project.
Copies of the South Bridge EA are available at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library, 815 Cooper Ave., Glenwood Springs City Hall, Engineering Department, the Garfield County Administration Building, and the CDOT Region 3 office in Glenwood Springs at 202 Centennial Dr.