CDOT announces tentative GAPP timeline |

CDOT announces tentative GAPP timeline

Its time to repave Grand Avenue because asphalt on Glenwood Springs main street has reached the end of its functional life, says a state transportation official.If the Colorado Department of Transportation did not take on the Grand Avenue Paving Project, it would be facing asphalt repairs every summer, said Karen Rowe, CDOT resident engineer in Glenwood Springs.Its costly to add asphalt. If we can spend $4 million to reconstruct the road and have no maintenance costs for 30 years, thats more cost effective than spending so many thousands every few years, Rowe said.While CDOT is looking for a long-term fix for the stretch of Highway 82 that runs through Glenwood Springs from the Grand Avenue Bridge to 23rd Street, Rowe is well aware that the repaving project will be hugely disruptive for Grand Avenue merchants and motorists.In a public meeting held last year, Rowe said the message she heard was for the construction project to get finished as quickly as possible.Our goals for this project are to minimize the impacts to business owners, get in and out as quickly as possible, and find a way to accommodate and prioritize buses, Rowe said.The project has been rescheduled twice, and Rowe believes the new timeline, from July 2004 through May 2005, will give the contractor the most flexibility.We are relying on incentives and a creative and good contractor to get things done quickly, she said.

Plans call for advertising the GAPP starting May 7, opening bids three to four weeks later and having a signed contract in place by June 30. Depending on how quickly the contractor can mobilize crews and equipment, work would start sometime in July and continue until winter weather becomes too severe for work in November or December.It will be up to the contractor and the weather when the project will start up again in 2005. CDOT officials expect the entire project to be finished by Memorial Day 2005, Rowe said.The tentative plan is: Excavate existing pavement and pour concrete at the 11th and 14th street intersections from July to early September. Do asphalt mill and fill repaving from the mid-1100 block through 23rd Street in August and September. Excavate existing pavement and pour concrete from the south end of the Grand Avenue Bridge to the mid-800 block from September to early December. Rebuild wheelchair ramps from 8th to 23rd streets during the cold months of winter. Excavate existing pavement and pour concrete from the mid-800 to the mid-1000 block in the spring of 2005.Rowe notes that this construction plan could be altered or completely changed by the contractor.The tentative plan meets the two main restrictions requested by the Glenwood Springs City Council: to have no more than two intersections under construction at any time, and to stay out of lower downtown (the bridge to 11th Street) from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the peak season for tourism.But the contractor may come up with a different timeline that still meets those objectives, she said.

CDOT officials looked closely at whether to pave Grand Avenue with concrete or asphalt, Rowe said. They settled on concrete for the downtown area from the bridge through the 11th Street intersection, and asphalt the rest of the way.Its also possible, depending on how much contractors bid for the job, that the 14th Street intersection will also be paved with concrete.Rowe said CDOTs Pavement Management Group looked at the rutting and cracks in the asphalt pavement on Grand Avenue downtown, the result of hundreds of motorists hitting the brakes as they approach the bridge. The group recommended concrete because it will resist ruts, hold up far longer and require very little maintenance.With either paving choice in the downtown blocks, CDOT would have required a down-to-the-dirt excavation. And while concrete requires a 10-inch-deep excavation, asphalt would require an 18-inch-deep excavation to make room for two layers of base material below the asphalt finish.While concrete takes three days to harden, the differing construction methods of the two materials resulted in very little difference in the cost estimate, Rowe said.South of the 11th Street intersection and through the 23rd Street intersection, CDOT plans to require mill and fill asphalt paving. A machine will mill off the top two inches of pavement, and then lay down two inches of fresh asphalt.That process moves a lot faster, and Rowe expects the entire stretch to be repaved in three weeks.

Several important things will happen this winter and spring to prepare for the project.Rowe plans to meet with the Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority Board at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 4, in council chambers at City Hall. After that, she plans to set up another meeting with Grand Avenue merchants.Rowe also plans to have more conversations with City Council on details.CDOT also plans to install an underground fiber optic line the length of Grand Avenue to connect all the traffic signals. With that system in place, CDOT can more easily adjust the stop and go cycles at each intersection to help traffic move more freely during and after the construction project.Meanwhile, traffic consultants PBS & J of Greenwood Village are conducting an in-depth study of Grand Avenue traffic and how various levels of lane closures will affect traffic flow. Rowe expects that study to be complete by the end of March.Until the study results are known, she said its impossible to say whether its realistic to restrict Grand Avenue traffic to four, three or two lanes in the stretch under construction.If the contractor can occupy more of the roadway at a time, the work will go faster, Rowe said. But the project will be a mess if huge traffic jams happen every day.We need to balance the needs of the project, the city and the commuters, Rowe said. The more restrictions we place on the contractor, the longer the project will go and the more it will cost.Contact Heather McGregor: 945-8515, ext.

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