Eighth and Midland to open in time for Target
Post Independent Staff
If all goes well, the intersection of Eighth Street and Midland Avenue will be open just in time for the opening of the new Target store in the Glenwood Meadows shopping center on Sunday. Target’s opening is sure to draw hoards of shoppers and create more traffic than usual on Midland Avenue.
City crews have installed a new traffic light and lowered the road grade at the intersection.
Glenwood Springs city engineer Larry Thompson said paving is set for Thursday and Friday and the road will be open to traffic Saturday.
“They’re out there right now getting the base course prepared. Hopefully we will be able to do the (road) striping Saturday or Sunday. We’re planning right now to open (the intersection) to traffic sometime on Saturday … We’re doing everything possible to get it open to traffic this weekend.”
What has held the project up is a shortage of cement, the key ingredient in concrete, which is a far-reaching problem nationwide these days.
In a letter to its customers on Sept. 1, LaFarge North America, one of the region’s largest concrete suppliers, said their cement supplier had a breakdown in its plant and essentially began to ration the amount of cement to each customer.
“Due to this shortage, roughly 70 percent of the demand for Ready Mix concrete in the month of September will not be met,” vice president Steve Wood wrote.
LaFarge’s supplier, Holcim (US) Inc., cut its orders because of a number of factors. Holcim’s plant in Florence, near Canon City, has been shut down on and off for months. In fact, the plant was not producing this week, said Holcim spokesman Tom Chizmadia.
“We took it off line yesterday. We’ll restore it Friday and it will be producing Saturday,” he said. “The cement shortage in Colorado reflects what the nation has been experiencing over the last six months.”
A strong economy and a resulting strong construction season “accentuates the historic gap between domestic cement supply and domestic demand,” he said.
Chizmadia said his company was able to supply customers “with most of their demand,” however, demand has now exceeded supply at the plant.
The cement industry has also relied on imported cement, but the stream of supply from Asia has dwindled in the last two years, Chizmadia said. Asia’s burgeoning economy has increased domestic demand.
Closer to home, Thompson said the cement and concrete shortage delayed the project by one week.
“A month ago we were planning that the paving would be done last week,” he said. It will also have a more long-term effect on the Eighth and Midland project delaying installation of sidewalks.
“One of the implications will be more ongoing construction for a longer period even after it’s open to traffic,” he said. Even after the roadway opens this weekend, crews will continue to work on the sidewalks and landscaping. A couple lanes of the four-lane intersection may close at times, Thompson said, to allow for that work. However, two lanes will continue to remain open.
What kept the project from floundering altogether was the city’s ability to divert concrete intended for repairing the apron around the ice rink at the community center to the road project, Thompson said.
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