New detour woe: Weekend shopping at Glenwood Meadows
The switch from weekday commuters to typical weekend shopper travel patterns Saturday exposed a trouble spot that Grand Avenue bridge detour officials will be looking for ways to mitigate.
Shoppers at the Glenwood Meadows commercial center along the Midland Avenue portion of the detour were experiencing long backups at the West Meadows entrance, at times all the way to the south access road through the parking area and toward Market Street.
The lone signalized access directly into and out of the Meadows is the only place where a left-hand turn headed west is allowed during the three-month detour period. The East Meadows access is right-out only, and Wulfsohn Road to the south is closed during the detour to all but buses, emergency vehicles and specially permitted vanpools.
The situation dominated Saturday discussion on the Roaring Fork Road and Weather Facebook group page, which has turned into a go-to site for detour traffic observations and suggestions.
Grand Avenue Bridge project spokesman Tom Newland said he noticed the Meadows backups on Thursday and Friday, as well, and has already alerted project engineers that some changes may be warranted, especially on the weekends.
“It took six lights to get out of there,” he said. “The light only allows about 10 cars out at a time, and it looks like it should be more like 15 to make it work. We’ll have to see if we can do something there, because we do see those peak shopping times more on the weekends.”
Otherwise, traffic was flowing much more smoothly along the detour route itself, with no reported backups on either end of town, Newland said.
“It really shows what that commuter and work traffic brings to the mix on weekdays,” he said.
Weekend work at the bridge construction site over the weekend is concentrated on continued demolition of the old bridge and pouring concrete for the remainder of the new bridge piers. Repair work on the two pillars that were damaged when part of the old bridge unexpectedly collapsed on Tuesday was also nearly complete, Newland said.
The remaining pier for the old bridge located just south of the Colorado River was also being cut into sections using a large saw, so that it could be removed. The work zone continued to be a popular attraction for onlookers who have been congregating on the pedestrian bridge overlooking the construction site, he said.
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