Another chance for South Bridge |

Another chance for South Bridge

Plans to build a bridge spanning the Roaring Fork River south of Glenwood Springs could be back in a big way.

But getting $6.5 million in federal funding for the bridge hinges on a vote that could happen in Congress today.

Third District Congressman Scott McInnis has been pushing to get funding for the project ever since the Coal Seam Fire burned the western part of the city in 2002. The bridge would provide another evacuation route for residents of the south Glenwood Springs-Four Mile Road area in case there’s a fire or another type of emergency there.

It would connect Highway 82 with Airport Road, crossing the Roaring Fork River just east of the city airport.

“Essentially, we’re trying to get funding, but the bill won’t be voted on until tomorrow,” McInnis spokesman Blair Jones said Thursday.

Glenwood Springs Mayor Larry Emery said the city has been wanting to build a southern route in and out of town for years, but efforts have been redoubled since the 2002 fire.

“It started with Don Vanderhoof having direct conversations with Congressman Scott McInnis,” Emery said. “He and (city manager) Mike Copp spoke to Scott on it. It’s been a long, ongoing battle that we were hoping he could win for us.”

Emery said if the $6.5 million is appropriated, he’s not sure how long the city would have to get the bridge and approach roads built.

“We’re waiting to find out about what stipulations are attached to it,” Emery said.

Emery also said he’s not sure which route the city would choose to access the west end of the bridge.

“A lot of it is dependent specifically on what we do with the airport,” he said.

The three recommended routes for a road that could connect Airport Road with the bridge are:

– Around the south end of the airport

– Across the airport and rodeo grounds, which would require the airport’s closure.

– Under the airport runway in a tunnel.

The remainder of the route would likely go from the east end of the bridge, cut between land owned by Holy Cross Energy and Dr. Carter Jackson, to a new intersection with Highway 82.

Another sticking point in the plan is the Colorado Department of Transportation’s January announcement that it won’t fund an intersection at the Airport Road extension and Highway 82 until at least 2010.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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