Eighth Street link tops city’s project list
Check a couple of key pedestrian links off the list, and move some of the major future transportation connections in Glenwood Springs, including a permanent Eighth Street extension, to the top.
City Council on Thursday approved an updated list of priority infrastructure improvements, identifying more than 20 projects the city eventually hopes to accomplish as part of its 2015-35 Long-Range Transportation Plan.
Topping the list again is the city’s ongoing efforts to make sure the Eighth Street connection, which now serves as part of the Grand Avenue bridge detour route, becomes a permanent link.
The long-term plan was adopted two years ago. Since then, the city’s Transportation Commission has worked every year to revise the project priority list to help guide the budget process.
“Adopting the transportation project priority list will help the city to demonstrate project importance on upcoming grant applications,” City Engineer Terri Partch explained.
For this year, several projects were dictated in part by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s massive Grand Avenue bridge replacement, as the city worked to complete a pair of critical foot and bicycle path connections.
Those included the new Red Mountain Pedestrian Bridge and Evan Carrington Memorial Path connecting the city-owned open space property below Glenwood Springs High School across the Roaring Fork River to Midland Avenue.
Another key connection was made when the West Midland Avenue Trail and pedestrian bridge were built, providing a non-motorized connection from West Glenwood to the Glenwood Meadows area and into downtown.
Topping the list this year is the ongoing and somewhat urgent need to make sure the Eighth Street extension west of City Hall to Midland Avenue remains in perpetuity.
Final designs to keep the street in place and also preserve the historic Rio Grande railroad corridor through an easement agreement with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority have been a major focus for the city.
Another approximately $2.2 million is expected to be spent, using city bond funds with the possibility of some grant funding, to complete the design work and construct the project.
The city also expects to file with the federal Surface Transportation Board to abandon the easternmost section of the Union Pacific Railroad’s side track, known as the wye.
Second and third on the priority list are a combination of projects aimed at improving the south Midland corridor, including completion of the environmental assessment for the South Bridge project.
South Bridge has been lumped in with the need to rebuild the southern section of Midland Avenue from 27th Street to Four Mile Road.
As envisioned, South Bridge would provide a connection across the Roaring Fork River to Colorado 82 south of Glenwood Springs by the municipal airport.
Together, the Midland/South Bridge projects carry a price tag of around $57 million, which would require funding from several entities, including Garfield County and the state.
Also part and parcel to the south Glenwood improvements is the city’s plan to replace the 27th Street (Sunlight) bridge, at an additional cost of between $6 million and $8 million. That project could be put out to bid by the end of this year.
Another future bridge connection that made a big jump up the list to the No. 8 spot is the city’s desire to build a long span over the Colorado River and the Union Pacific Railroad yard from Devereux Road to Midland Avenue.
This year, the city committed to getting to the 10 percent design phase of the long-term project. City Council and Transportation Commission members met Thursday with consultants who are working on design options.
A major challenge with that project will be to navigate the steep grade from the existing bridge that crosses over Interstate 70 up to Midland Avenue, while providing access to Two Rivers Park and Centennial Street.
“It will be an interesting process to see what the consultants come up with in that area,” Partch said.
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