Glenwood Springs City Council votes 6-1 to continue with South Bridge assessment
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – After derailing in November, the South Bridge environmental assessment is back on track.
Glenwood Springs City Council voted 6-1 Thursday to move forward with the environmental assessment without the inclusion of alternative 5 – the Old Cardiff Bridge Road alternative.
The decision received applause from several audience members who have all expressed their opinion to council, in the past year, to exclude alternative 5 from the assessment.
“One of the reasons alternative 5 was included was to bolster the completeness of an environmental assessment,” said councilman Matt Steckler. “My opinion, I never wanted to see alternative 5 built, what I’d like to see is us proceed with the EA without alternative five included in the scope of the project.”
Councilman Leo McKinney seconded the motion.
Councilman Russ Arensman had some reservations with the motion. He said that by removing alternative 5 from the assessment council was basically choosing a single option because, he said, the alternative 8b, what he called the “Buffalo Valley” option, is not a viable option.
“I could support this motion if we were to include a regional look at traffic, and seriously look at the design of and traffic improvements on airport road,” Arensman said.
Arensman voted to approve moving forward with the assessment but said that further discussion was warranted regarding several issues including a crossing through the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s easement, coordination with the Highway 82 corridor optimization plan, and mitigation plans on Midland Avenue and Airport Road.
City Manager Jeff Hecksel requested that council deal with the motion at hand, and told council that they could discuss those specific issues at a future council meeting.
Councilman Stephen Bershenyi was the lone vote against moving forward with the assessment.
“I don’t see this process having been done with a lot of thought,” he said.
Bershenyi called the motion a reaction to a lot of comments from folks who would have been affected by alternative 5.
“I am not in favor of being told by outside entities what we must do,” Bershenyi said. “My feeling is that it is work being made which will not survive the shelf life required to bring this project to fruition.”
Bershenyi also called this decision to move forward with the assessment a “waste of money.”
Mayor Bruce Christensen, who ultimately voted to move forward, remained true to his past votes and said that while he did support the motion, he was not a supporter of the project.
“I continue to think that this is not a high priority for the projected $20 million to $30 million cost to Glenwood Springs,” he said.
He wanted some assurance from county officials that the intergovernmental agreement that was in place, remains intact. Arensman agreed that if Glenwood was going to move forward with the project, the city is going to need some financial support.
“This cannot be, and should not be, a Glenwood only financed project,” Arensman said. “If we can’t get the county on board, I don’t think we should move forward with this.”
Jacobs Engineering received the $1.2 million contract for the planning and environmental assessment. So far, Jacobs has completed about $840,000 of work to date. Glenwood Springs received $5.2 million in federal funds in 2005 to pay for the planning portion of the project including the assessment.
The remaining alternatives include alternative 8b, and alternative 10b. Alternative 10b would route traffic to the south of the Glenwood Municipal Airport runway. The bridge would take traffic over the Roaring Fork River and connect to Highway 82 between the Carter Jackson ranch and Holy Cross Energy. Alternative 8b would route traffic under the airport runway and connect to Highway 82 at Buffalo Valley.
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