14th St. pedestrian bridge work and Midland traffic delays ahead
Work begins this week to place the new pedestrian bridge across the Roaring Fork River from Midland Avenue to 14th Street, and if the weather cooperates the new span could be ready for use much sooner than expected.
In the meantime, motorists should anticipate some daytime traffic impacts on Midland Avenue Wednesday, Thursday and Friday while a crane is used to install the bridge segments.
Starting a 9 a.m. on those days, Midland will have periodic one-lane closures between 27th and Eighth streets to accommodate the bridge delivery and to begin installation.
Lane closures are expected to continue until 6 p.m. During that time, through traffic is discouraged and travel along that stretch should be limited to local residents, according to a city news release.
Eighth or 27th Street to Grand Avenue is suggested as an alternate through route between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on those days. The Atkinson Trail along Midland between Eighth and 27th will also be closed while the bridge is being installed.
Work began earlier this year on the new 14th Street pedestrian bridge, which is viewed as one way to help ease traffic congestion during next year’s Grand Avenue bridge detour and beyond.
The pedestrian bridge will provide a critical foot and bicycle link over the Roaring Fork River for residents of the Midland Avenue neighborhoods and students headed to and from schools in the area.
In addition to the bridge, the city has built an ADA-accessible bike/pedestrian path leading across the city-owned Stephens property connecting to Coach Miller Lane just west of Glenwood Springs High School.
Total cost for the new bridge is approximately $2 million, of which $350,000 came from a Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District grant.
Lead contractor Mark Gould of Gould Construction said the bridge sections involve 12 different pieces that will have to be placed separately between the four bridge abutments that are already in place.
Work will begin on the Midland Avenue side and proceed east across the river. Work will continue throughout December, but no more traffic impacts are anticipated, according to the city.
Weather permitting, Gould said the bridge decking could be installed in January. Ipe, a type of walnut wood from Brazil that is weather resistant, will be used for the deck, he said.
Full project completion, including landscaping and lighting along the pathway, is scheduled for late spring or early summer 2017. Gould said it’s possible the bridge could be usable earlier in the year, depending on when the city decides to open it.
Originally, the city had planned to use the old Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge that was removed earlier this year to make way for the new bridge that’s part of the larger Grand Avenue project. However, it was determined most of the old bridge could not be reused in the new location.
A small segment of the old bridge is being used on the eastern end of the 14th Street span, but the rest is brand new, resulting in a project cost increase of almost $1 million.