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GAPP schedule might change

Dennis Webb

Contractors are hoping to tweak the scheduling of the remainder of the Grand Avenue Paving Project to further minimize impacts downtown.Concrete Works of Colorado won rave reviews from motorists, business owners and Glenwood Springs city officials during the initial phases of GAPP, which were completed last fall. While keeping traffic flowing, the company was able to accelerate the project so it is now 70 percent complete, though it only was supposed to be 30 percent done by now.As a result, only the downtown portion of Grand needs to be finished.The current schedule calls for the company to do the Eighth Street intersection and 200 feet onto the Grand Avenue Bridge from Feb. 2 to April 8, followed by Ninth through 10th streets from April 8 to May 25.Instead, it proposes to work on Ninth to 10th streets first, from Feb. 14 through April 8, then do the bridge-Eighth Street work through May 22.The proposal would allow the hardest part of the project – the bridge work – to be done during warmer weather. It also would reduce the chances for delays due to winter drainage problems, because the earlier work would occur higher up on Grand.The initial startup of concrete work also would start 12 days later in order to benefit from warmer weather.Tom Newland, public information manager for GAPP, said the Colorado Department of Transportation plans to go along with the revised schedule unless the agency hears serious concerns from the public.Few were raised Thursday during an open house on the plans for the remainder of the GAPP project.Corey Spagnolo, who owns a restaurant downtown at 812 Grand, has some concern about the impacts of the project on business during spring break. The revised schedule is intended to postpone work in front of the restaurant/gift shop district on 8th Street until after spring break is over, but Spagnolo said a temporary no-parking zone for the 9th and 10th street work will extend down 8th almost to his business during the first phase.But he said enough of his spring break business is pedestrian-based that he hopes it won’t matter.Spagnolo said the project will be good for downtown.”It will clean up the appearance of downtown, which is important,” he said. “If we can all weather the storm, we’ll come out ahead.”The spring GAPP work will take place where businesses are more concentrated, Newland said. But the affected area also is more condensed than was the case in the fall.”You won’t be able to park out front but you won’t have to park far away.”Police chief Terry Wilson said officers dealt a lot with maintaining vehicle flow during last fall’s GAPP work, but will focus more on making sure pedestrians can get around safely and smoothly downtown, where foot traffic is much greater.He praised the efforts of the contractors and others involved with the project in the fall, as did others who attended Thursday’s open house.”They did a good job last year keeping traffic flowing,” said Tim Laudick, vice president of Gould Construction. “I thought it was very comfortable compared to what I thought I was going to experience.”Laudick attended the open house to seek clarification on what hours companies such as Gould would be allowed to move oversize vehicles on Grand during construction.Newland said probably only about 10-15 members of the public attended Thursday’s open house, compared to about 50 who turned out for a similar one last fall. He takes that as a sign of reduced public anxiety about the possible impacts of GAPP.The city will continue to promote alternative transportation during GAPP, and CDOT will provide free bus passes upon request. Also, Tom Fleming, a professional downtown revitalization specialist, is volunteering to spearhead a “GAPP-Happy” promotional effort by downtown businesses during the project, such as marketing to construction workers and holding a celebratory picnic when the work is done.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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