Devereux wins battle of the bridge | PostIndependent.com

Devereux wins battle of the bridge

Dennis WebbPost Independent Staff

Leaving the question of how to pay for it to be sorted out later, Glenwood Springs City Council has decided to stick with a plan to build a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 70 at Devereux Road.That means forgoing the opportunity to divert a $146,433 Colorado Department of Transportation grant from that project toward construction of a pedestrian bridge over the Colorado River at Midland Avenue in West Glenwood.City staff had recommended the diversion because the West Glenwood bridge would be cheaper – about $500,000-$600,000 compared to $900,000 to $1 million – and the city also could tap its rivertrail funds to cover the remaining cost and get the bridge built.But a majority of council on Thursday decided that the Devereux project is more badly needed, even if it might take longer to make it happen.Council voted 4-2 in favor of sticking with that project and pursuing additional funding for it. Some on council found themselves torn between what they considered to be two important projects. Council member Dave Merritt led the push to continue pursuing the Devereux project, saying it’s more urgently needed.Pedestrians and cyclists already have access to a wide sidewalk on the Midland Avenue bridge in West Glenwood, he said. By contrast, nonmotorists crossing the Devereux bridge are forced to use the road. Many nonmotorists use the bridge because of the proximity of Two Rivers Park and area lodging, Merritt said.Mayor Bruce Christensen and council member Joe O’Donnell wanted the West Glenwood bridge funded instead. It would tie in to the city trail system and one being planned to head west into South Canyon, and eventually across western Garfield County. Christensen said it also would be an improvement in pedestrian safety in an area where people on foot are forced to cross Midland and navigate the roundabouts in West Glenwood.”They may be state of the art but they are not good for pedestrians,” he said of the roundabouts.Christensen also notes that the existing Devereux Bridge belongs to CDOT, and said the responsibility shouldn’t fall primarily on the city to improve pedestrian safety there. Merritt said he thinks the city might be able to get more money from CDOT for the Devereux bridge.Betsy Suerth, a Glenwood resident, told council there is an immediate need for a bridge at Devereux, whereas the trails that the West Glenwood bridge would connect still don’t exist.”This is a trail bridge that has no trail on either side of it right now,” she said.She added that supporters of the South Canyon trail still face some financial challenges in trying to get it built.While deciding against the funding diversion, council on Thursday agreed to a proposal from city staff to swap grant funding years with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. Because the city doesn’t have the rest of the money for the Devereux bridge now, staff proposed that the state let it switch funding years with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, which had received a $122,000 trail grant for use in 2008. CDOT has approved the swap proposal.Under the switch, RFTA will get its grant next year. That adds to the money RFTA hopes to use next year to build a trail along the railroad corridor from Glenwood as far as the Colorado Mountain College turnoff of Highway 82. RFTA already has a $1 million grant and other funds for that work. The switch will speed up work that would have had to wait until 2008.RFTA has been working toward completion of a trail along the corridor from Aspen to Glenwood. Much of the upvalley portion is complete, and construction now is focusing on downvalley.When built, the trail south of Glenwood will eliminate the need for bicyclists to use Highway 82 south of the Buffalo Valley Inn turnoff.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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