Bridge Answer Man: This bridge will be a rock star | PostIndependent.com

Bridge Answer Man: This bridge will be a rock star

Tom Newland

The Grand Avenue Bridge project is still in phase two of the five phase 30-month construction timeline. The pedestrian bridge is on track to open to the public on March 1, 2017. Over the next month, the Seventh Street Station construction team will be working on the exterior stairs, building canopies and installing trusses at canopies and landings. Masonry work will resume in November. They continue to work on upgrades to the Exit 114 interchange and Eighth Street connection, as both of these improvement projects are to prepare for the August 2017 traffic bridge detour.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

The new Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge opens in March, and many onlookers have already noticed the design evolution beginning to come to the forefront. Within the next few weeks, the bridge will receive one of its essential design features, the stone and brick veneer.

The red brick is actually “tumbled,” which gives it a historic feel. It will be applied to the elevator tower, known as Seventh Street Station, and is the same brick used on the Ninth Street and Cooper Avenue parking structure and the recent refacing of the planters along Grand Avenue.

Rose strip flagstone will be applied to all the bridge piers and the bridge barrier wall between Seventh and Eighth streets. It, too, is a historic material that can be found throughout our downtown.

Much time and thought was put behind these features by Colorado Department of Transportation, AMEC Foster Wheeler, Glenwood Springs City Council and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The brick and stone in the bridge design is an important factor in helping the new bridge fit the city’s character. In this week’s Answer Man, we will explain why.

Leslie Bethel, executive director of the Glenwood Springs DDA, takes us back to the preliminary phases of the new pedestrian bridge design: “It was City Council that gave the DDA the guidance and goal to make the new bridge part of our town,” she said. This, she explains, is an extremely important task. With her extensive experience in design and architecture, Bethel said she knows how easy it is for a town or city to lose its character when a prominent, large, new structure is built.

Updating a city’s character and architecture by way of choosing overtly modern designs is common among many cities. However, that’s not Glenwood Springs, Bethel explains.

“Glenwood Springs’ goals are different, it’s all about quality and building on our context.” She notes that much of the city’s historic architecture matches the red tones in the soil of Glenwood’s surrounding landscapes such as Red Mountain in west Glenwood.

A total of 5,054 square feet of stone and brick will be installed on various sections of the bridge. These areas include the bridge barrier walls, abutment walls and piers, and the Seventh Street Station, which includes the elevator core and the pedestrian stair structures.

The brick and stone will be handled by Colorado Founded Rock & Co., which has worked on projects for clients from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Federal Highway Department.

“These brick and stone features on, and adjacent to, the bridge are used to tie the bridges together with not only the historic buildings but with the context of our surrounding environment,” Bethel said. The brick and stone work build on the character that makes Glenwood Springs unique.


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