Federal grant awarded to fund transportation infrastructure projects in Rifle, Glenwood Springs

Usuarios toman el autobús BRT Aspen en la estación RFTA 27th Street en el sur de Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Glenwood Springs and Rifle just received a federal grant to improve infrastructure on transportation in Glenwood Springs and Rifle.

“It’s huge for the region, for the Western Slope,” said Jonathan Godes, Glenwood Springs mayor. “We can’t thank our senators enough, who strongly advocated on our behalf. We really appreciate their support and advocacy.”

A press release went out from Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. John Hickenlooper and Gov. Jared Polis to welcome nearly $46 million for Colorado transportation projects. 

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the biggest investment in America’s roads, bridges, and transportation since Eisenhower,” Bennet said in the release.

One large part of the project is the Westward Three project, a $24.2 million grant called the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant. It allows the federal government to invest directly in road and transit projects for Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Grand Junction.

“This is a huge win for our workforce, pedestrians, bicyclists and the city’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Godes said. “We can now make significant strides in transit connectivity and address critical safety issues at one of our busiest intersections.”  

The Westward Three will update multiple transportation hubs in Garfield County, redeveloping the one in West Glenwood, expanding and relocating the one in Rifle and creating a pedestrian and bicycle underpass for 27th Street and SH82.

The grant also secures funding for RFTA workforce housing and replacing 12 full-size buses.

There will be an underpass under both 27th Street for the Rio Grande trail, and then another underpass under Grand Avenue/Colorado Highway 82 to get to that BRT station, Godes said.

“That’s going to be important, because we’re going to have, I think, 90 parking spaces on the northwest corner of 27th and Grand Avenue,” he said. “Being able to expand, really triple the size of the parking right now, and then get those people who drive there safely across that intersection … that’s a really dangerous intersection.”

The West Glenwood transportation hub, or West Glenwood Transit Plaza will be redeveloped to have a customer service center with expanded parking space and a pedestrian island.

A Roaring Fork Transportation Authority park and ride bus station in Rifle on Thursday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

“We’ll have a bike share program in the next couple of years in Glenwood, and that will be a large hub for bike sharing E bikes, traditional bikes, micro transit, little shuttle buses that can deliver people to different locations,” Godes said. “All that is envisioned out of this West Glenwood mobility hub.”

Funding can support multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects that are more difficult to fund through traditional Division of Transportation grant programs. 

“Proceeds from the grant will support the relocation and construction of a new Park-n-Ride in Rifle which will double the parking capacity of our current facility,” said Tommy Klein, Rifle city manager in the release. “This project will afford Rifle residents greater opportunity to rideshare and utilize RFTA and Bustang buses for transportation.” 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was created to invest $550 billion in roads, bridges, mass transit and more for the next five years. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created the RAISE grant, which will provide $7.5 billion for transportation, with $1.5 billion for this year.

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