Bridge officials outline project information plan
Four different advisory groups will help guide the Grand Avenue Bridge Project in Glenwood Springs from the start of construction next month until the anticipated completion of the $125 million project in two years.
Included will be an emergency management group made up of police and fire officials that will work with the Colorado Department of Transportation’s project team to determine how best to handle movement of emergency vehicles during the construction.
That will be critically important, especially during the planned three-month detour period in late 2017 when the existing bridge will be removed and Highway 82 traffic is detoured along Midland Avenue and Eighth Street, Tom Newland, public information manager for the project, informed Glenwood City Council last Thursday.
More than 60 people were also invited to be part of the project information leadership team, which will work to keep the broader community up to speed about what will the largest infrastructure project to be built in the area in almost three decades.
That group includes several city officials, including new Interim City Manager Andrew Gorgey, City Engineer Terri Partch, Downtown Development Authority Director Leslie Bethel and City Councilman Steve Davis.
Two commerce-oriented advisory groups are also being formed, Newland said.
One will be made up of business owners in the downtown core area, including those on Sixth Street, that stand to be most affected during the two years of construction. Another is made up of some of the larger employers in Glenwood Springs, including the city, Garfield County, the school district, Valley View Hospital and Colorado Mountain College.
“These are our tools to get the word out, and also to get the word back on how we can make changes or modify things,” Newland said. “We see it as a two-way conduit.”
The joint venture general contractor/construction manager for the project, Granite/RL Wadsworth, has also hired Kathleen Wanatowicz and Sam Montgomery of PR Studio to be the “boots on the ground” keeping the general public informed about construction schedules, closures and other traffic impacts, and what people can expect with each phase of construction.
Already, Wanatowicz said she has been fielding phone calls on the project public information hotline that has been advertised on electronic message boards in town announcing that the project is about to commence.
A 20-page document outlines the public communications plan for the bridge project, she said.
Considered a “Tier 2” project by CDOT, that’s akin to the recent Twin Tunnels project on Interstate 70.
“So we are going to have that level of public communications on this project,” Wanatowicz said.
A Jan. 14 open house will be the another opportunity for the public to learn more about the different phases of the project, she said.
Wanatowicz previously worked with the city on the Glenwood Community Center project at the time it was built in the early 2000s.
“I see the bridge in that same light, where we have a lot of work to do, but it’s exciting,” she said. “We have a great team in place for that.”
Two key members of Granite/RL Wadsworth’s construction management team were also introduced to City Council, Gaylen Stewart and Pat Kalisz.
“We want to be a part of the communications effort, and feel that getting the information out there to everyone is going to be key,” Kalisz said.
“This is going to be a great looking bridge when it is complete,” he added.
Gorgey, who took the helm as interim city manager on Dec. 7, said there has been a substantial effort in recent weeks to improve communications between CDOT and the city about the project. City Council last month expressed concerns in a letter to CDOT that it didn’t feel like the city was being adequately informed of project details.
“The key is to stay positive, there’s no room for cynicism, negativity and sniping,” Gorgey said. “I am very serious about trying to work things out person to person … and resolve things with a lot of common sense and collaboration instead of rushing to something unnecessary.”
There are many things yet to resolve, he said.
“My goal on your behalf is to resolve anything that still requires resolution sooner rather than later,” Gorgey advised council members. “I don’t want to kick anything down the road and pretend like every single detail has been agreed to, because it hasn’t. And I think that’s fine.”
City Council will have a more detailed work session with bridge project officials on Jan. 7. Newland said a Feb. 5 official groundbreaking ceremony is being planned.
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Colorado State Patrol will send extra troopers to Independence Pass but tools such as one-way, directional travel through the Narrows are not being considered.