27th Street Bridge gets ribbon-cutting ceremony

City representatives and others cut the ribbon at the 27th Street Bridge ribbon cutting on Wednesday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The 27th Street Bridge and roundabout were free of construction crews, traffic flaggers and heavy machinery at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Shortly after 2 p.m., roughly 50 people gathered at the east end of the 27th Street pedestrian bridge for the ceremony, which included comments from Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes, Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson and other local officials.

Contractor Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction built the new traffic bridge offline, immediately south of the old 27th Street Bridge — one of the worst-rated bridges in the state — before sliding it into place. 

Although the bridge was offline for a total of 19 days during the construction project, Godes said it could have been significantly longer had it not been for the bridge slide.

“Without that bridge slide technique, this project would’ve taken nine months of a total closure,” Godes said. “I think we can all see what happens to the community when even one lane goes down.”

The 27th Street Bridge serves as one of the city’s few connections across the Roaring Fork River. According to city estimates, more than 14,000 vehicles traverse the 27th Street Bridge daily and approximately a third of the city’s residents live south of 27th Street. 

Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction was paid $9.8 million to complete the 27th Street Bridge Project’s construction and was supposed to have finished no later than Dec. 5. However, the project experienced significant delays, some of which were caused by weather. 

The $10 million-plus project also received over $3 million in grant funding, including $500,000 from the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District.

“Nice bridge you got here,” Samson said. “It’s neat to see the different components come together, different organizations work together to make something like this come on.”

Samson, in addition to serving on the board of county commissioners, also serves on the board of directors for the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District.

Construction, however, is not quite finished. According to a ConeZone alert, issued a few hours before Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, motorists can expect minor lane closures and delays through Feb. 21 during off-peak daytime hours in order for trucks to load out materials and wrap up “punch list items.”

Later this spring, either the city or other contractors will complete landscaping and road re-striping. 

“I just want to do a huge thank you to the community for their patience,” city manager Debra Figueroa said. “I also want to thank the men and women who were out here through all temperatures working on this bridge to make this possible for our community.”

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