Needed pre-detour Glenwood ped connections pricey |

Needed pre-detour Glenwood ped connections pricey

A rickety old staircase follows part of the pathway due west of Glenwood Springs High School down to the new paved path and bridge over the Roaring Fork River to Midland Avenue. The city is looking to install a new metal staircase there ahead of the Grand Avenue bridge detour next month.
John Stroud | Post Independent

Glenwood Springs is weighing whether to pay a contractor or do the work in-house to build two new pedestrian connections that city leaders believe will be critical to have in place before the Grand Avenue bridge detour hits next month.

The first is a planned stairway between the Rio Grande Trail just west of Glenwood Springs High School down to the new paved path and pedestrian bridge that crosses the Roaring Fork River to Midland Avenue from the city-owned Stevens property near 14th Street.

A historic path and some old wooden steps that are falling apart have provided access down the steep hillside for decades. The city wants to make it a permanent, non-ADA access to the new bridge and trail that winds its way to the south, providing bicycle and handicapped access back up to the Rio Grande.

Another new path and small stairway is also in the works farther north on the Rio Grande that would lead up to the sidewalk on the south side of Eighth Street.

It would provide a temporary non-ADA access for students or others wanting to go directly to Glenwood Springs Elementary School and areas south of Eighth Street without having to cross what will become the Colorado 82/Grand Avenue bridge detour route for 95 days starting Aug. 14.

The city recently put both projects out to bid, but the costs came back significantly more than what was budgeted, Glenwood Springs City Engineer Terri Partch advised City Council on Thursday.

The city already purchased the two prefabricated stairway sections for the 14th Street pedestrian bridge connection, at a cost of $25,000. However, the lone bid to have it installed came in at $99,000, nearly double what the city set aside for the work.

Likewise, the city was figuring on about $102,000 to build the additional foot path at Eighth Street, including grading, installation of a small set of steps and either a paved or crushed gravel path. Instead, that bid came in at $131,000, Partch said.

That’s pretty expensive for what would be a temporary path during the detour, Partch acknowledged, although the city would be able to utilize the stairs and other infrastructure elsewhere after the detour is over.

The would-be contractor, Phoenix Enterprises, has said it is willing to negotiate the price for both projects.

Council, at its regular Thursday meeting, agreed to have staff negotiate a contract for the 14th Street project up to $65,000, and to look at doing the Eighth Street path connection using city labor.

The other option would be to do both projects in-house. But, given the city’s current workload, that would likely mean neither project would be done before the bridge detour hits, Partch and City Manager Debra Figueroa advised.

If the council were to pick one project to contract out, Figueroa recommended the 14th Street stairway as more important to have in place ahead of the detour. The Eighth Street path would be easier to accomplish in-house, even if it doesn’t happen right away, she said.

City Councilor Steve Davis agreed the 14th Street connection is one the city promised as part of that larger project. He said he’d like to see that project accomplished even if it means calling in the Boy Scouts to cut out some makeshift steps in the dirt hillside.

“That path does get an enormous amount of traffic during the day, and even at night I see people coming down there with flashlights,” said Davis, who lives just across the river on Midland.

City staff was directed to work with the bidder on ways to bring the installation cost down to $65,000, including possibly dedicating some in-house labor. If not, City Council may need to have a special meeting next week to decide how to proceed.

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