Merchants rejoice; Glenwood wing street paved in time for holiday |

Merchants rejoice; Glenwood wing street paved in time for holiday

Crews Thursday morning lay asphalt on the west side of Grand Avenue north of Eighth Street.
Randy Essex / Post Independent |

Carole O’Brien said she’s thrilled. Gabe Griffin is more stoked than ever for the first big warm weather weekend.

It’s probably pretty rare for merchants to be so excited about a temporary layer of asphalt in front of their businesses.

But O’Brien, manager of Book Train, and Griffin, owner of Lost Cajun, two of the businesses north of Eighth Street on the west side of Grand Avenue — part of Glenwood Springs’ summer tourism core — had been looking at a kickoff of the summer visitor season with rock and dust outside their front doors, and, in the Lost Cajun’s case, limited outdoor dining.

The broad walkway on the west side of the Grand Avenue bridge has been torn up for utility work most of the year as part of the two-year, $126 million bridge replacement, the largest infrastructure project on Colorado’s Western Slope in 25 years. Less extensive work has narrowed the sidewalk on the east side of the bridge, where work will continue through June.

“It’s going to look a lot nicer. It’s been a tough couple months.”Carole O’BrienOwner of the Book Train

Crews worked feverishly, said project spokesman Tom Newland, to meet the original Memorial Day deadline to finish and pave over utility work on the west side of Grand under the existing bridge.

“That was our goal, and it looks like we’ll make it,” Newland said. The pavement being put down now is temporary; the area will be torn up during the actual bridge replacement scheduled for August through December 2017, and a permanent surface put down at the end.

“It’s been like an anthill out there,” O’Brien said of the push in recent days to finish the work. Thursday morning, asphalt was laid on the west side before a break in work on the project for the holiday weekend.

“It’s going to look a lot nicer,” O’Brien said. Shops can put out signs and decorations now, and she plans a sidewalk sale over the weekend. “It’s been a tough couple months,” she added.

The Lost Cajun, along with Grind, Smoke and Daily Bread, during the work lost much of their outdoor seating, which Griffin said makes a huge difference for him.

“I’m so ready for this weekend,” he said .

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