Glenwood’s Grand Ave. bridge to open Tuesday; community walk set Monday
Monday bridge celebration schedule
4 p.m.: Meet on the north side of the traffic bridge deck (above the pedestrian underpass)
4:05 p.m.: Quick comments followed by a ribbon cutting
4:10 p.m.: Community photo
4:15 p.m.: Community walk across the new traffic bridge
5 p.m.: Patronize downtown businesses
If the weather doesn’t take too nasty of a turn over the weekend, the Colorado Department of Transportation says it expects to open Glenwood Springs’ new Grand Avenue bridge to traffic by Tuesday, a full 10 days ahead of schedule.
CDOT officials said Thursday that an exact time for the bridge to open, reconnecting Colorado 82 to the Interstate 70 Exit 116 interchange and Sixth Street, is still to be determined.
If all goes as planned, that’s likely to be late Monday or early Tuesday before the commuter rush hits, said Tom Newland, CDOT’s project public information manager.
Exactly how many lanes will initially be open is also weather-dependent, but there’s a possibility that all four lanes could open, rather than just three as previously planned, Newland said.
“Our intent is to try to get four lanes open, which would make things much easier,” he said. “But getting a lot of these little things finished up will mean a lot.”
Significant progress was being made Thursday on final details such as concrete curb work and completion of the bridge side barriers and railings, as well as final lane striping.
“You can’t stripe the road when it’s wet,” Newland said. The weather forecast was for continued nice conditions Friday, but an 80 percent chance of rain through the weekend and into Monday.
The early opening would qualify CDOT’s joint-venture general contractor on the $126 million bridge project, Granite/RL Wadsworth, for a $250,000 bonus.
monday ribbon cutting
To get ready for the historic occasion, the project team is planning a community bridge deck walk and ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. Monday, rain or shine. The event will be open to the public.
Participants are asked to meet on the north side of the traffic bridge deck at the abutment above the pedestrian underpass, near the new Sixth and Laurel roundabout.
“The celebration is a fun opportunity for the community to walk across the new bridge deck, celebrate the community working together and be captured in a photograph that will commemorate Glenwood history,” said Tracy Trulove, CDOT Region 3 Trulove communications manager.
“Over the course of the project we have had many requests for an event on the traffic bridge,” she said. “We wanted to take a moment and thank our community and local partners.”
Those attending the Monday event can either park downtown and walk across the pedestrian bridge, or take the free shuttle from the West Glenwood Mall.
Final detail work
If four lanes of the new bridge cannot be opened immediately, CDOT has said it plans to open three lanes, with two lanes alternating between southbound traffic during the morning rush and northbound traffic during the afternoon and evening hours.
The speed limit on the new bridge will be 25 miles per hour, same as Grand Avenue all the way south to 23rd Street, Newland said.
Once the bridge is open, the Eighth Street and Midland Avenue detour that has been in place since Aug. 14 will be dismantled.
“Our team will quickly move into transitioning out of the detour configuration,” said Graham Riddile, CDOT Region 3 Engineer. “Our first priority is signal timing at Eighth and Ninth streets, and opening the transit priority lane to traffic.”
Also, crews will roll back the I-70 Exit 114 eastbound exit-only lane and the northbound Colorado 82 transit lane; striping in the downtown square-about will be changed; EMS, transit and van pool lanes on Wulfsohn Road will be reopened to all motorists; Midland Avenue, Eighth Street, Colorado Avenue and Ninth Street will be converted to their pre-detour configuration; and, the intersection of Eighth Street and Colorado Avenue will return to a four-way stop, with all four pedestrian crosswalks and fencing removed.
Pedestrian access will be maintained at Eighth and Grand, and down both the east and west wing streets toward Seventh Street. However, pedestrian access under the bridge will not be reopened until mid- to late December, Newland said.
“Even though the bridge will be open, this is not over by any means,” he said, noting that various aspects of construction will continue through June.
That will include removal of the scaffolding under the bridge at Seventh Street starting next week, continued work to compete the bridge railings and make the streetlights functional, and installation of the brick pavers on the pedestrian walkways in the 700 block of Grand.
Longer term, the causeways in the Colorado River will need to be removed by March 1 for trout spawning season; the Hot Springs parking lot and stairway from the north end of the pedestrian bridge are to be completed by February; and work will begin to extend the eastbound I-70 on ramp at Exit 116 by another 500 feet.
Free Roaring Fork Transportation Authority transit services that have been in place during the detour to help reduce traffic will continue through Nov. 22, and the Hogback route to western Garfield County will continue to be free through Dec. 8.
Glenwood zone buses and Ride Glenwood will resume pre-detour routing on Thanksgiving Day, and the $1 per day fare will return.
Starting Dec. 9, Hogback service from Rifle to New Castle will resume its pre-detour schedule. Visit rfta.com for fare information.