Grand Ave. Bridge to regain stripes
Motorists who think the narrow Grand Avenue Bridge is two lanes rather than four will be set straight soon, thanks to the efforts of state highway striping crews.Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson Nancy Shanks said crews across the Western Slope are getting busy repainting highway stripes that have been worn away by the ravages of winter.”Everybody loses their stripes during the winter,” she said.The Grand Avenue Bridge’s lane markers are one example of that. Although the yellow center lines remain more visible, the white lane markers have largely worn away, which could lead to some motorists taking up two lanes rather than one when they’re crossing the bridge.Winter snows and subsequent plowing, combined with sheer traffic volume, wreak havoc on road markings. And this winter Colorado’s central and northern mountains have seen plenty of snow.
Shanks said spring restriping efforts tend to focus first and foremost on urban areas with heavier traffic, such as Glenwood Springs, Aspen and Steamboat Springs.The Grand Avenue Bridge “definitely tops the list” of highway stretches needing new striping, Shanks said. That’s because of its high traffic count and how narrow it is. Grand Avenue also is state Highway 82.She said crews hope to stripe the bridge in a couple of weeks.CDOT sometimes does more permanent striping and road marking by grinding off a layer of pavement and inlaying the paint. It used that approach on Grand in downtown Glenwood when it repaved the road with concrete.She said before inlaying could be tried on the bridge, it would have to be determined if grinding the asphalt there is feasible.
Inlaid striping also is about three times more expensive, she said. The striping budget for CDOT Region 3, which covers much of western Colorado, is $1.8 million.Glenwood police chief Terry Wilson said police generally don’t see much of an increase in accidents on the bridge when lane striping is worn away. Most people who use the bridge are local residents who are aware that it is narrow, and four lanes rather than two, he said. They and also tend to watch out for motorists from out of the area who may straddle two lanes when crossing the bridge, he said.”I think that local caution prevents a big influx of accidents. We get them periodically but we do that throughout the year no matter the conditions,” he said.Leslie Flanagan, a driver for OSM Delivery, said she wasn’t aware of the poor striping conditions on the bridge.”There’s always so many cars on it when I go over it that I don’t even notice that the lines are not there anymore,” she said.
Flanagan said motorists always are confused on the bridge. But she imagines restriping would help cut down on the number of motorists who use both lanes.”Obviously they’re people that aren’t from around here and they think that both lanes are for them,” she said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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