State grant to assist Glenwood’s 27th Street bridge project |

State grant to assist Glenwood’s 27th Street bridge project

Glenwood Springs will get $950,000 from the state of Colorado to go toward the planned $8.8 million replacement of the 27th Street bridge.

The city received word last week that it was awarded the grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance funds.

The money will go a long way toward replacement of the 27th Street bridge, more commonly known as the Sunlight Bridge, and related road improvements at the South Grand Avenue intersection. The work is tentatively planned for next year.

State Energy Impact funds are derived from taxes on oil, gas, carbon dioxide, coal and metals extracted in Colorado.

In addition to the DOLA grant, the city previously received a $500,000 grant from the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District to help pay for the bridge replacement.

The city also has $1.1 million remaining from another state/Colorado Municipal League grant, and it continues to pursue other grant funding to help pay for the project in the near term.

The Sunlight Bridge provides access over the Roaring Fork River, between Midland Avenue and Grand Avenue. It directly serves approximately 3,500 city residents and other Garfield County residents up Four Mile Road toward Sunlight Mountain Resort, as well as the Three Mile canyon.

The bridge was first put into service in 1969 and was originally paid for jointly by the city and county, according to historical records.

State bridge inspectors have deemed the 27th bridge “structurally deficient and functionally obsolete,” the same assessment given the Grand Avenue/Colorado 82 bridge before it was replaced by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

In fact, the 27th Street bridge has a sufficiency rating of 42.2, which is lower than the rating given the former Grand Avenue bridge, which has since been demolished.

The need for better traffic circulation into and out of the south Glenwood area, access to Sunlight and better emergency access and evacuation routes made the bridge replacement a top priority for the city.

“The bridge replacement is of critical importance to our city, especially for those residents living along the South Midland and Four Mile Road corridors,” Mayor Michael Gamba said in a news release announcing the grant award.

“The bridge planning process has been a comprehensive and cooperative effort involving many stakeholders,” he added.

The new bridge is to be built using what’s called an “accelerated bridge construction” method. Construction of the newly aligned bridge will take place alongside the existing bridge, allowing it to remain open to traffic.

A full bridge closure is expected to last about one week while the new bridge is completed and the old one removed. A construction start date has not been determined.

The bridge was designed with input from the public, area business owners, CDOT and others. According to city officials, the selected alignment “will improve safety and traffic operations, maintain the nearby Atkinson Trail connection, and minimize impacts to traffic, pedestrians, utilities, the river, boaters, and adjacent landowners.”

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