End bypass procrastination
Dear Glenwood Springs City Council:
Highways through Glenwood have posed thorny issues for many decades. I would hope that you do not make the big mistakes, based on shortsightedness, that past councils have, resulting in tremendous negative impacts.
In the early ’60s the state asked the city for input on aligning the future Interstate 70. Fearing loss of business, the pool lobbied the council to request it be placed right along the river. Mistake #1.
Later, the state asked the city for help designing our main interchange. Should it have the through lanes under and the ramps above so that in the future we could have a Highway 82 bypass along Midland? Or should it be as built? The pool and the chamber, fearing loss of business, lobbied the council to keep all traffic, present and future, on Grand Avenue. Mistake #2.
In the late ’70s, after realizing that there will be a problem someday, the council designated a 200-foot-wide bypass corridor along Midland. Later we spent huge amounts on various studies looking at every possible and impossible alignment. It most always came back to the Midland corridor. But by now many influential people had built homes above Midland. The council caved in – no political will or vision. More houses were allowed along the corridor. Mistake #3.
Then we entered the decade of denial. It become obvious that there just wasn’t a route that would work politically. So the council put the finishing touch on Midland by approving the Sunlight Bridge condos and commissioned more studies. Mistake #4.
So now where are we? We are back to the early ’60s. We are faced with destroying our last beautiful river. There will never be enough money to build an environmentally sensitive four-lane on the railroad right of way, and the state just informed us there won’t be much of anything for some time to come. It is very attractive for the council to do nothing.
So how does all this relate to a bridge across the river out by the airport? Start by assuming that someday we will have a bypass. If it’s along the Roaring Fork it will connect at 23rd and South Glen. This still leaves South Glenwood and Four-Mile isolated and bottlenecked. If it’s along Midland (far cheaper than the river if done right) then it’s a natural to take it all the way south to the airport. Both options result in sooner or later needing a bridge by the airport over to Highway 82.
Please, City Council, stand up and do something right. Break your 50-year legacy of shortsightedness. Get a vision. Show our neighbors, the county and the state that we can act responsibly. Plan it and together we can build it. Don’t let the state’s request concerning a Red Canyon interchange go by.
Dean K. Moffatt
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