27th Street Bridge reopens Thursday afternoon
Thursday evening’s rush hour was closer to normal for some drivers after the 27th Street Bridge in Glenwood Springs reopened just before 4 p.m.
The news came as a surprise to many, especially after the city issued a news release a few days prior stating that the bridge was expected to remain closed through the week.
According to 27th Street Bridge Public Information Manager Bryana Starbuck, the concrete that crews laid earlier in the week cured properly and reached a sufficient strength to accommodate vehicles.
Additionally, roadway striping on the 27th Street Bridge will no longer require a full-bridge closure as previously anticipated. Instead, a subcontractor will complete striping Friday and Saturday utilizing intermittent lane closures during off-peak hours Starbuck said.
The roundabout, South Grand Avenue and pedestrian bridge at 27th Street all remain open at this time.
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According to a Cone Zone alert sent out Thursday afternoon, motorists should anticipate alternating one-way traffic on the 27th Street Bridge “for the remainder of the project through January.”
Crews must still complete a guardrail replacement, sidewalk connections for the pedestrian bridge, construction of a few minor walls and drainage work according to the alert.
Landscaping and wall coating work were removed from the contract with Ralph L. Wadsworth.
Either the city or a different contractor will complete that work next year.
Contractor Ralph L. Wadsworth was paid $9.8 million to complete the project’s construction, which involved a bridge slide technique.
According to the city’s website, the bridge slide technique was supposed to “minimize impacts to traffic, pedestrians, utilities and river users.”
The 27th Street bridge, commonly referred to as the Sunlight Bridge, provides one of the very few connections across the Roaring Fork River in Glenwood Springs.
In a guest op-ed signed by all seven members of the Glenwood Springs City Council and submitted to the Post Independent, councilors voiced their frustrations with the continued closures.
The project, which involved replacing one of the worst-rated bridges in the state, was supposed to have been completed by Dec. 5.
According to the op-ed, the 27th Street bridge has been completely offline for a total of 19 days.
“The city is reviewing the commitments set forth at the beginning of the project and scrutinizing the staffing levels, equipment availability and proposed project schedule that led to the prolonging of this project,” stated council’s editorial.
Whether or not the city will collect a $43,000 lane rental fee from the contractor as a result of the closures remains in question.
In a previous news release City Attorney Karl Hanlon said “the city had preserved its rights to assess those fees” but was holding off, at least until the project’s completion.
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