Glenwood Springs narrows options on South Midland design |

Glenwood Springs narrows options on South Midland design

Both would include full sidewalk, 2-way traffic during construction

Motorists make their way along South Midland Avenue on a rainy day.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Glenwood Springs runs the risk of chewing up almost a third of its bonding capacity on proceeds from a special sales tax reauthorized by city voters last year on one project, if it’s not careful.

That project, the planned South Midland Avenue rebuild, was the subject of a lengthy City Council work session Thursday, followed by another nearly two-hour-long discussion during the regular session before a compromise was reached.

Instead of picking just one of four design options for the reconstruction of the roughly three-quarter-mile stretch of Midland from 27th Street to Four Mile Road, the city will seek construction bids on a couple of options.

Those include the full “base project,” with a wider, 46-foot cross section, a 6-foot sidewalk running along the east side of the road, and 11-foot traffic lanes. The other would involve a narrower cross section, but would include most of the same amenities at a slightly lower cost. That includes a full sidewalk, rock fall mitigation, drainage and two lanes of traffic, for the most part, during construction.

But, at an estimated cost of between $8 million and $9.5 million regardless of the option, Mayor Mike Gamba suggested the city take multiple options to bid in an effort to pin down the numbers.

“We do have a limited budget to look at here, and we have to spend as wisely as possible on this,” Gamba said. Engineers’ estimates are just that, he said — estimates.

And, based on the city’s recent experience, actual bids typically come in higher than the estimate, he said.

“We need to know those actual numbers to make a decision, and not base it on speculation,” Gamba said.

With $30 million, maybe $40 million in bonding capacity to spread across numerous projects contemplated when city voters authorized extension of the special acquisitions and improvements (A&I) sales tax last year, funds are limited.

When the tax was renewed, the city envisioned a host of projects for which the money could be used, including Midland and the much larger South Bridge project, plus redevelopment of the areas around the new Grand Avenue Bridge.

South Glenwood residents want to make sure they don’t get short-changed. Several of them spoke at the Thursday night meeting, imploring City Council to retain design elements such as a full 6-foot sidewalk, various intersection improvements and a roundabout at Four Mile Road.

“It’s very important that we have a way to bike and walk that stretch safely,” area resident Diane Steuben said.

Added another area resident, Renee McCullough, “It’s not luxurious or extravagant, these are safety issues.”

Another goal of the project is to try to maintain two-way traffic along the only thoroughfare serving South Glenwood for a majority of the anticipated two-year construction project. As it stands, construction would not begin until 2019.

At a cost of about $1.5 million, there’s also some discussion about whether to build the Four Mile roundabout as part of the Midland project, or later when the South Bridge route creating a new outlet to Highway 82 gets built.

“It’s desirable, I’m just not absolutely convinced it’s a requirement,” Councilor Rick Voorhees said during the work session portion of the discussion.

The roundabout is seen as a way to better control traffic flow through the intersection, and provide a new drop-off and pickup entry into Sopris Elementary School. City Engineer Terri Partch said the roundabout also would provide better stormwater drainage at the intersection.

When it’s built, the Midland Avenue project would be the most extensive city street project since Donegan Road in West Glenwood was rebuilt in the late 2000s.

Jonathan Godes, who represents the Ward 5 South Glenwood neighborhood on Council, said the city should not compromise on the width of the sidewalk along the revamped section of street.

“We have to make sure whatever we do going forward with this that it’s usable to pedestrians,” he said.

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