Bridge model generates public interest
More than 1,500 people have taken a look at the Grand Avenue Bridge scale model since it was unveiled earlier this summer, according to Colorado Department of Transportation bridge project planners.
The model has been on public display at Strawberry Days, the Tuesday Night Markets and at Glenwood City Hall, generating numerous comments and ideas on what the project should look like and allowing an opportunity for questions about the process.
“The response has been fantastic,” said Joe Elsen, CDOT’s Region 3 East Program Engineer, in a recent press release. “There is a wide range of opinions, and we’ve answered many questions.”
Since the planning for a new bridge began in late 2011, the project team has developed a so-called “build alternative” that is currently being evaluated through a formal Environmental Assessment (EA) process. The full EA is expected to be released for public review in December or January, Elsen said.
The new bridge being studied would follow a new alignment from Grand Avenue on the south, curving west to a reconfigured interchange at Interstate 70 Exit 116 and Sixth and Laurel streets. Sixth Street would no longer carry State Highway 82 traffic, as it does now.
In addition, a new pedestrian bridge would be built, which is needed to carry utility lines and improve pedestrian connections between the Hot Springs Pool area north of the Colorado River and the main part of downtown Glenwood Springs south of the river.
The EA will include a “preferred alternative” and construction mitigation commitments to be considered for final approval by CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) by mid-2014.
Construction on the new $60 million bridge could begin by late 2014, following design and right-of-way purchase, and will likely take about two years, according to CDOT officials. The project is using money designated from the special Colorado Bridge Enterprise fund.
Over the next several months CDOT will be requesting input from the City on landscaping, urban design and other architectural elements of the project.
“While decisions on these elements rely on approval by FHWA and the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, this input will help the project team better match the needs of the project with the context of Glenwood Springs,” Elsen said.
The bridge model continues to be on display in the lobby at Glenwood Springs City Hall, 101 West 8th Street, and will also be at the Tuesday Night Market in Centennial Park every other week from 4-8 p.m.
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