10-day closure in Oct. for 8th Street bridge work
The bridge connecting downtown Glenwood Springs to Midland Avenue via Seventh Street will be closed for 10 days in October for work related to construction of the new street connection that will be part of the Grand Avenue bridge detour next year.
Colorado Department of Transportation officials announced Tuesday that work will begin next week to build the new Eighth Street connection that will bypass Seventh Street and directly connect Midland Avenue to Grand Avenue.
The route will be used during the 95-day detour starting next August when the main Colorado 82/Grand Avenue bridge is removed to make way for the final segment of the new bridge. The city has plans to make the new Eighth Street connection permanent.
As part of the detour work, Grand Avenue bridge project officials firmed up the schedule for the planned closure of the Eighth Street bridge that crosses the Roaring Fork River. The planned bridge closure has been a major concern for the city in terms of the timing with the recent start of the new school year.
The Eighth Street bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic for 10 days starting Oct. 8, but will remain open for pedestrian use during that time, said Tom Newland, bridge project public information manager.
Local vehicle access from Midland to Cowdin Drive on the west side of the bridge will also be maintained during the closure, he said.
To accommodate eventual detour traffic, the bridge will be getting a new concrete deck and asphalt pavement, as well as guardrail improvements.
CDOT considered doing either a single-lane closure and spreading the bridge work out over multiple weeks, or the shorter full closure in order to complete the project in time to lay new asphalt on the bridge and street connection before the colder weather hits and asphalt plants close for the season.
“This schedule gives us a little slack on either side to complete the project,” Newland said. “We have been working closely with the city to go over this plan and to address their concerns.”
City Council, during a recent discussion of the planned bridge work, preferred a full closure and shorter time frame rather than the option of keeping one lane of traffic open.
In addition to maintaining pedestrian access across the bridge, construction crews will have the ability to allow emergency vehicles access over the bridge, Newland said.
During the bridge closure, motorists traveling from west Glenwood to downtown will need to use U.S. 6 or the main Interstate 70 Exit 116. Residents along Midland Avenue can either go to 27th Street to access Grand Avenue, or travel back through west Glenwood.
Newland said construction crews will avoid work on the Grand Avenue bridge itself and on Sixth Street during the 10-day Eighth Street closure in order to allow for better traffic flow.
Roaring Fork Transportation Authority buses will also have a different schedule and route during the 10-day closure. That information will be updated at http://www.rfta.com.
“We are working closely with the Roaring Fork School District, the city of Glenwood Springs, Garfield County, RFTA and Eighth Street businesses and residents to assist and continually update them on traffic and construction impacts during this phase,” Newland said.
The public will have several opportunities to hear more about CDOT’s plans with the detour construction in the coming weeks. The first will be during Newland’s regular update to City Council at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. this Thursday.
A neighborhood informational meeting is also planned for 5 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Glenwood Springs Library to discuss concerns regarding the Eighth Street closure. And, the next Grand Avenue bridge bi-monthly downtown public meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 16 at 715 Grand Ave., Suite A.
Meanwhile, work will begin next Tuesday on the new street connection from the point where Eighth Street now ends west of City Hall, across the area where the railroad side tracks have been removed, and connecting to the bridge.
“This connection quickly moved to the top of our priority list,” Newland said in a news release. “The decision to complete this work earlier in the construction schedule came after consideration for construction activities happening concurrently on Seventh Street.”
Originally, the street connection was to have been done next summer just before the detour went into effect.
However, with the periodic closures of Seventh Street between Colorado Avenue and Cooper Avenue, project officials wanted to alleviate traffic congestion and improve pedestrian safety on Seventh Street by reducing the number of vehicles in that area, he said.
The street connection is expected to take between six and eight weeks to complete. Motorists should anticipate minimal traffic impacts during the first week, but flaggers will be present to direct trucks in and out of the area.
About 1,000 cubic yards per day will be excavated west of City Hall, and trucks will use Ninth and 10th streets to and from Grand Avenue. Several trees will also be removed during the excavation phase of the project.
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Roaring Fork Schools volunteers who have already completed a comparable background check through an approved entity would be good to go.