City staff: Bridge planning should go distance |

City staff: Bridge planning should go distance

Greg MassPost Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – City staff strongly recommends the Glenwood Springs City Council not abandon the proposed “south bridge” across the Roaring Fork River, according to a memo from Glenwood Springs City Manager Mike Copp. The memo says if council does not move forward with the bridge, further development in the south end of the city and up Four Mile Road should be halted immediately. City Council is slated to discuss continued pursuit of the south bridge at its regular meeting Thursday evening.The memo was written by Copp, but it contains input from city attorney Karl Hanlon, Community Development Department director Andrew McGregor, Public Works director Robin Millyard and city engineer Larry Thompson. It was written in response to strong indications by some members of council that further work on the bridge could be scrapped in favor of other transportation projects. “Staff feels that the new south bridge project is one important piece of the city’s overall transportation plan,” the memo said. “We feel that it is important to complete the alternate route project that was begun more than 10 years ago.”The alternate route project runs from West Glenwood to south of the city on Highway 82. Its most visible component is the West Midland Avenue extension and Colorado River bridge. In the memo, city staff listed reasons for council to stay on course with the south bridge project:-The alternate route project has been ongoing for more that a decade and it’s had millions of dollars poured into it. -Abandonment of the project could cause the city to lose credibility with the Colorado Department of Transportation, which committed to funding $2.2 million for the design and construction of a signalized intersection for Highway 82 at the south end of the city’s alternate route, and planned to help fund the bridge.-The city staff and previous councils made earlier decisions that were based on eventual completion of the alternate route. -At least one subdivision was required to contribute $1,000 per lot toward future improvements to Airport Road. -Utility plans call for using the bridge to loop the city’s major water distribution lines. -Without the bridge, traffic growth likely will overwhelm the 27th Street area and possibly other areas of the city. -If the project is to be contemplated later, land needed for the bridge and approach roadways could become more difficult or impossible to obtain. Talk of scrapping the south bridge idea came up two weeks ago during a council discussion on where the planned extension of Midland Avenue would intersect with Highway 82. CDOT requested a decision on this matter from council so it could make a final determination on where to relocate the Red Canyon intersection on the east side of Highway 82. During that discussion, council members were confronted with opposition to a road that would connect the southern reaches of Airport Road to Highway 82 via the south bridge. Such a road would force the city to gain rights of way from Holy Cross Energy and from Dr. Carter Jackson. Council also considered the high cost of a bridge and the cost of building an intersection. These factors drove some council members to reconsider the whole idea. “There’s too much on our plate we need to take care of right now to worry about a bridge south of town,” Councilman Rick Davis said at that meeting. Councilman Don Gillespie and Davis suggested that council should forget about the whole project before the city spends any more money. “Do we as council have the political will to fight Holy Cross and do a land condemnation?” Davis asked at the Dec. 19 meeting. The answer to that question could come Thursday. Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext 511gmass@postindependent.comAlso on the City Council agenda:-Consideration of appointing Tony Durrett to the Downtown Development Authority Board. -Consider whether to authorize a sole-source purchase of a 1992 Caterpillar 140G motor grader. -An ordinance amending the city’s development code by providing for concurrent review of development applications and zoning actions. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Council Chambers at City Hall, 101 W. 8th Street.

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