Glenwood Springs eyes full rebuild of south Midland Avenue |

Glenwood Springs eyes full rebuild of south Midland Avenue

Cars head north on south Midland Avenue during the after school rush on Thursday afternoon. Damage to the Jersey barriers that line the steep slope is common from the frequent rockfall in the area.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Glenwood Springs is moving toward a full, $9.5 million rebuild of south Midland Avenue instead of a less-expensive yet temporary fix that could also serve to save money for the much-larger South Bridge project.

Council members in attendance at a work session last week agreed with a staff recommendation to proceed to 100 percent bid design for full reconstruction of Midland from the 27th Street roundabout south to what would be a new roundabout at the Four Mile Road intersection.

Design work is expected to continue through this year, with construction possible in 2019, depending on the timing of the 27th Street Bridge replacement and other infrastructure projects, according to city officials.

On the table for comparison were a pair of partial reconstruction options that would improve the driving surface on Midland with an asphalt overlay and a lifespan from five to 20 years, at a cost of between $1.4 million and $1.8 million.

However, neither of those options would do anything to correct serious drainage, snow removal and rock slough issues along the hillside, according to a memo from the city’s Engineering Department. They also would not include a sidewalk or correct problems at a couple of key intersections.

The so-called “base project,” at $9.52 million, would include a new 90-degree intersection at Old Cardiff Bridge Road. It also includes a $2 million roundabout at Four Mile Road where Midland turns into Airport Road.

“The base scope addresses drainage, pedestrian access, rock catchment, snow removal and intersection safety issues,” the staff memo stated. Also, “At this time, the school district administration has indicated that they are interested in cooperating to solve property, drainage and circulation issues” where the roundabout would be constructed near Sopris Elementary School.

“That may or may not continue in the future,” the memo stated.

City Councilor Jonathan Godes, who represents the Ward 5 (south Glenwood) neighborhoods and made Midland Avenue improvements a key issue in his campaign last year, said it’s important to move forward with the full deal.

“At end of day, it’s about getting this done right and not having to potentially revisit it five years from now,” Godes said.

The full rebuild also includes about $1 million for replacement of an aging and undersized water line that serves the area. Godes said that the city could conceivably spend money to do the overlay project without the water line, only to have to tear it back up if the line fails.

“The was what kind of won the day,” Godes said of the work session meeting last week, where the consensus was to move ahead a full design by year’s end and a project that could be ready for construction in 2019.

Mayor Michael Gamba, who was not at the work session, has indicated his desire to save some money with one of the lesser South Midland options. That way, the city can put more money toward the estimated $45 million South Bridge connection across the Roaring Fork River to Colorado Highway 82, he said.

Given the nearby Atkinson Trail along the river a short distance to the east, Gamba has also questioned the need for a sidewalk to be built as part of the Midland project. Gamba said this week that he would like to bring the question up for some more discussion among council.

Godes said Thursday that the sidewalk is a necessary component of the Midland project for a couple of reasons.

“On any given day people are always walking alongside Midland with strollers, so there really is a need for a sidewalk there for pedestrian connectivity,” he said. Atkinson can be more difficult for families with younger children to use, plus it gets icy and is harder to maintain in the winter, Godes added.

A full street and sidewalk rebuild, with a wider platform, would also allow for two-way traffic to be maintained during construction, where the other options would only allow for alternating one-way traffic for several months, he said.

“You either pay now or you pay later, because people are still going to walk on that road,” he said.

Godes said the South Bridge project is also a critical need, but is one that’s a ways off in terms of securing funding and partnership agreements with Garfield County, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

Once the south Midland design is complete and project is put out to bid, it’s ready to go, he said.

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