CDOT to seek final OK and $5.3M more for Grand Ave. bridge
The Colorado Department of Transportation today will ask transportation commissioners for an additional $5.3 million and final go-ahead to build a new bridge connecting Interstate 70 with Grand Avenue/Colorado Highway 82.
If approval is given, work on the long-planned and long-debated project will start in January.
CDOT this week completed negotiations with the project’s pre-selected construction manager, general contractor (referred to as the CMGC), Granite/RL Wadsworth, to reach a contract price agreement for bridge construction. Granite/RL Wadsworth was part of the project planning and design process through the environmental assessment that concluded earlier this year.
Through the CMGC process, CDOT and the contracting firm had three rounds of negotiations to agree to a pricetag within 5 percent of the transportation agency’s independent cost estimate. CDOT Region 3 spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said Wednesday that the difference in the bid and the independent estimate ended up at 3.2 percent.
Had it not gotten to within 5 percent, CDOT would have sought approval to put the project out to bid, which would have delayed the start by at least a year because causeway platforms must be built in the Colorado River during the lowest river flow of the year.
Project officials today will ask the Colorado Transportation Commission, meeting in Greeley as the state Bridge Enterprise Board, to approve the additional $5.3 million to cover a funding gap over and above the state’s $98.6 million budget established for the project in September 2014.
Overall, the project cost is now expected to approach $121 million. A little more than a third of the budget was for project planning and design, including costs associated with the lengthy public environmental review process.
CDOT has lined up about $17.3 million in additional funding commitments to cover extra costs associated with building the bridge on a curved alignment to the I-70 interchange. A new pedestrian bridge and elevator access to Seventh Street is also included with the project, as well as various aesthetic design treatments requested by city officials.
The extra funding includes $3 million each from the city of Glenwood Springs and Garfield County, and about $3.3 million in separate CDOT money that’s allocated for regional project prioritization.
Under the proposed construction schedule, the existing bridge will continue to carry Highway 82 traffic until mid- to late-August 2017, when it would be demolished to make way for the final segment of the new bridge. That’s when the anticipated three-month detour would be in place from I-70 Exit 114, along Midland Avenue and back to Grand Avenue via an extension of Eighth Street west of Glenwood City Hall.
Background for this story came from previous reporting by John Stroud.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.