Glenwood Springs Council needs questions answered before proceeding on Midland rebuild
South Midland Avenue will be fully reconstructed, Glenwood Springs Mayor Michael Gamba assured a room full of south Glenwood residents who showed up to speak their minds on the matter at Thursday night’s City Council meeting.
What’s in question is how wide a platform is really needed to do the construction and avoid major traffic congestion, and whether details such as sidewalks along the entire stretch and how big of a replacement water main to install as part of the expansive project.
No decisions were made after a brief work session to go over lingering questions surrounding what would be the city’s largest street project since Donegan Road in West Glenwood was rebuilt about a decade ago.
And, the city is prepared to spend between $15,000 and $20,000 to have those questions answered at what’s expected to be a lengthy April 19 work session, followed by a possible decision that night about how to proceed with a project that’s still a year out in terms of actual construction work.
Gamba and a few other council members have balked at the estimated $8 million to $10 million South Midland rebuild, saying the project could be done for about half that cost.
In particular, Gamba has said he’d rather see fewer add-ons to the Midland project, like foregoing a 6-foot sidewalk and some of the intersection improvements that are being discussed, in favor of putting more money toward the much larger South Bridge project in the future.
That doesn’t mean he’s in favor of a partial fix on Midland as it runs south of 27th Street approximately three-quarters of a mile to the Four Mile Road intersection.
“There have been some misconceptions about where I stand on South Midland … and that my proposal is to do just a partial reconstruction,” Gamba said. “All of the proposals we are looking at are to completely reconstruct Midland with a new road.”
One question is whether a construction area 40 feet wide or more is needed to do the construction, including the full sidewalk, or if it can be done within about 30 to 36 feet, with a smaller sidewalk or none at all in sections.
Even a 36-foot construction area would likely require alternating one-way traffic while the work is being done, and could extend the project across two construction seasons, rather than just one with a wider area to work within, city Engineer Terri Partch and Assistant Engineer Matt Langhorst said.
Contractors will need to be at the table at the April 19 work session to help answer that question, they said.
“Thirty feet does seem a little narrow with curb and gutter and all that,” Langhorst said during the Thursday work session. “If we go to 36 feet, we need to see what that looks like.
“There’s also the resident anger and inconvenience costs, and whether we lose or keep the pedestrian aspect,” he said.
Another option could be to run a sidewalk down Old Cardiff Bridge Road, which crosses the Roaring Fork River and comes out on South Grand Avenue, Langhorst offered. At that point, the city would need to look at improving pedestrian access along South Grand near Rosebud Cemetery, he said.
Several residents spoke during the public comments portion of the Thursday night meeting in favor of sticking with the full South Midland design.
“Since I’ve lived here, the south part of Midland has never been attended to properly,” said 30-year Glenwood resident Renee McCullough. “And you need to add a sidewalk; it’s not a luxury item.”