Costs go up again for Glenwood Springs’ Atkinson Canal Trail |

Costs go up again for Glenwood Springs’ Atkinson Canal Trail

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Building a trail by the Roaring Fork River is costing the city more than expected after groundwater has seeped under the trail’s base.

City staff is asking the Glenwood Springs City Council for permission Thursday to increase a contract for work on the first phase of the Atkinson Canal Trail by $67,956. City staff already approved a $58,440 increase to what was originally a $598,387 contract.

The municipal code required the latest request to go before the City Council because it would increase the cost by 10 percent or more of the original contract. Both changes in the contract together would increase its cost by $126,396.

The latest cost increase to the contract, if approved, will bring the contract to $724,783. The extra work includes building a sub-grade drainage system to divert groundwater away from the trail’s base and replacing “unsuitable material” under the trail base, according to a memo from the city’s Community Development Department.

Community Development Director Andrew McGregor couldn’t be reached Monday.

Construction started on the first phase of the Atkinson Canal Trail in September. The memo says much of the project either parallels or goes over the Atkinson Canal and “considerable amounts of water have been infiltrating the sub-grade and daylighting directly out of the hillside into the canal.”

The problematic groundwater was not detected during geotechnical evaluation and soil testing last December, the memo says.

The first segment of the trail already approved for construction begins near the Mountain Market by Threemile Creek and runs along the west side of the Roaring Fork River. It would go for around 2,100 feet to the north to the old Cardiff Bridge.

The trail will be a soft surface of road base, probably to be paved over in the future.

The remainder of the trail would stretch another 5,000 feet up to the Sunlight Bridge at 27th Street. The cost of the entire project has been estimated at around $4.4 million.

As of late August, the city still needed a few easements from homeowners to finish the entire length of the trail. The situation brought up the question of eminent domain. The City Council approved a motion in March saying that if the remaining easements couldn’t be obtained through negotiation within three months after a notice to proceed with construction was issued, the city will use its power of eminent domain to condemn the easements.

Critics of the trail have said a concrete bike trail would harm wildlife habitat, invade their privacy and increase littering and vagrancy. They contend that easements behind homes on Hager Lane do not allow for a bike corridor.

But supporters disputed those claims and said the trail will provide a safe route to the southern part of town. They believe the city has no legal authority to deviate from the trail’s location because votes have approved public funding for the trail to build out the city’s river corridor plan.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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