City looks at South Glenwood road, bridge alignment options
Prodded by design work timelines for the Midland Avenue extension, Glenwood Springs is again pondering the future use of its airport, which lies in the thoroughfare’s path.
City engineer Larry Thompson presented three Midland Avenue extension route options at a joint meeting Tuesday between the City Council and Garfield County Commissioners.
One option calls for the extension to skirt the south end of the airport runway, cross the Roaring Fork River and run through Carter and Louise Jackson’s ranch, located on Highway 82 south of the Holy Cross Energy.
Jackson, a retired veterinarian who has lived on his 300-acre ranch since 1955, doesn’t think much of this option.
“We’re sure as hell not in favor of it,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he objected to option 1 because it crosses the conservation easement he placed on the property. He said the road would detract from the ranch’s rural atmosphere.
If the city chooses option 1, Jackson said he will take action. “But I don’t know what it would be,” he added.
Option 2 cuts across the airport runway, across the Roaring Fork River, up to Highway 82 between Jackson’s ranch and Holy Cross Energy headquarters. The airport would have to be closed to accommodate this alignment.
It places the road farther from Jackson’s house, and is the option he supports.
Option 3 uses the same alignment as option 2, but puts the roadway through a tunnel under the airport runway, allowing the airport to stay open.
“That’s the more expensive option,” Thompson said.
City Councilman Dan Richardson told the city and county officials the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) wants to know by January where the Midland Avenue extension will connect with Highway 82. The agency wants to begin design work on the intersection then.
Faced with getting CDOT the information it needs by early next year, the City Council has appointed a 12-member ad hoc airport committee to study and recommend the 67-acre airport property’s highest and best use.
Residents voted in 1997 to keep the airport open, but times have changed. At the time of the vote, developer Robert Macgregor proposed closing the airport to swap land with the city for a park and housing project.
Mayor Don Vanderhoof said residents thought if they voted to keep the airport open, it would stop growth in south Glenwood Springs.
“Cardiff Glen proved that wrong,” Vanderhoof said after the meeting.
With larger regional airports 24 miles to the east near Gypsum and 19 miles to the west near Rifle, Vanderhoof said the city is “asking whether the best use for that property is for an airport.”
The ad hoc committee includes City Councilman Dave Merritt, airport manager Dick Weinberg, Glenwood Springs community development director Andrew McGregor, Airport Advisory Commission member Steve Carver, Susan Hakanson, Doug Harr, John Neil, C.C. “Jitter” Nolen, Joe O’Donnell, Klaus Schattleitner, Steven Shute and Fred Wall.
After the meeting, Richardson said funding for the Midland Avenue extension and a starting date haven’t been determined. He said the only way to build the extension is through a joint effort between the city, the county and the state.
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the city and county will ask its employees to park in the Municipal Operation Center parking lot, to free up spaces for the public in the courthouse area.
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