Bridge Answer Man: Attention to bridge aesthetics |

Bridge Answer Man: Attention to bridge aesthetics

Tom Newland

Question: What is CDOT doing to make sure the project turns out to be an attractive element of our town?

Answer: Let’s flash back to 2011 when CDOT began the planning process for the Grand Avenue bridge. The conversation about the final outcome and aesthetics of the project was in the forefront of our stakeholder and visioning meetings.

Throughout the design phase, consideration for how the bridge design ultimately looks and fits into the community was the common thread, and continues to be what we think about on the project team after a long day in the dirt. The aesthetics often led public conversations and influenced the final design.

An example is the decision to place more of an emphasis on the pedestrian bridge finishes and bridge architecture. The pedestrian bridge will include design elements such as the use of veneer stone and brick finishes and replicating the surrounding buildings, in particular the historic Hot Springs bath house and train station. The traffic bridge will allow for a more inviting area underneath it in the Seventh Street shopping plaza.

During construction, the contractor is making every effort possible to accommodate pedestrians. For example, a splash screen for the temporary walkway was required in the project specifications. The plywood material selected by the contractor for this temporary screening made sense for pedestrians using the walkway.

In addition to preventing slush and water from hitting walkway users, it’s durable, inexpensive and is very effective at screening noise and acting as a physical separation between vehicle traffic and pedestrians. The contractor is taking other steps to minimize the impacts that come along with construction projects, including keeping pedestrian areas free of clutter, providing clear directional signage for pedestrian access, and using a water truck to sweep the streets and keep dust down.

The construction project has definitely changed the look to downtown, but not for long. A transformation is in the works as the contractor begins to finish the drilling and substructure work and starts to focus on the permanent structures and the Seventh Street Station. Remember, construction is inherently messy and ugly, but it is only temporary. And this project is a marathon — we have to keep running.

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