West Glenwood Springs businesses cope with Grand Avenue bridge detour prep
Bridge detour roundtable for employers
11 a.m. Wednesday at Glenwood Springs City Hall, Council chambers
The Grand Avenue Bridge project team invites area employers to the second Employer Roundtable. This is an opportunity for employers to learn about the Grand Avenue Bridge detour and strategies to help employees and clients navigate the bridge detour that will start Aug. 14. There will be a brief presentation followed by a roundtable discussion. Lunch is provided.
Businesses located along Glenwood Springs’ U.S. 6 and Sixth Street corridor are getting an early taste of some of the challenges the whole town is bracing for later this year when the Grand Avenue bridge detour hits.
Ongoing construction work to prepare the Interstate 70 Exit 114 interchange and lay a new asphalt surface on both Midland Avenue and U.S. 6 to handle crosstown and Colorado 82 traffic during the 95-day detour starting Aug. 14 has already had an impact on some West Glenwood commerce.
Laurie Raymond, owner of High Tails Dog & Cat Outfitters on the far west end of U.S. 6, figured the detour period itself would be difficult for her business, and has been planning accordingly. She wasn’t expecting an extra four months of difficulties leading up to that time.
The detour work, including the current work to expand the south roundabout at Exit 114, has resulted in traffic backups during the morning work commute and school drop-off time, as well as the evening rush hour.
That’s right when many of Raymond’s customers are dropping off their dogs for High Tails’ pet day care service, and often taking that time to pick up dog or cat food or other pet supplies, she said.
“We are finding that the traffic congestion and delays are having increasing impacts on our business,” Raymond said. “Local customers normally drop off their dogs on their way to work and pick them up in the evening, and now it has become almost impossible for some, because of the traffic.”
Raymond was already planning to offer pick up and delivery services for both dogs and pet food during the detour stretch, but now she is contemplating having to do that during the interim months as well.
What has her most worried is that the lure of ordering pet supplies and other dry goods online will become more attractive if people can’t get to their favorite local business during the construction.
“People won’t have these local places to come to if we don’t survive this project,” Raymond said, adding that she hopes some of the attention the city has given to helping businesses in the downtown core is extended to the outlying areas.
“We might need to extend our hours into the evening to accommodate people,” she said. “We will do everything we can to make it more convenient.”
Steve Zeder, general manager at nearby Bighorn Toyota, said the traffic delays have caused some issues with people making it to their vehicle service appointments on time.
“It’s not uncommon right now for someone to show up a little bit late, which pushes the schedule,” Zeder said. “But the volume of business does not seem to have been affected.”
Bighorn is considering extending its hours into the evening some during the bridge closure to better accommodate customers. Some of those customers are already scheduling their next service appointments ahead of the detour, and will likely do so on the back side when August rolls around, he said.
“We’ll just have to see what happens during those three months, but we’re going to do everything we can to keep the volume up,” he said.
Jessica Moss just recently purchased the Flower Mart on the opposite end of the Sixth Street corridor in February. The current construction hasn’t affected her too much, but she, too, said she has been thinking about how to adjust flower delivery schedules when the bridge shuts down for three months.
“All of the construction does add to delivery time, payroll and costs, and we don’t really have the ability to walk or do bike deliveries,” Moss said. “Thankfully, the detour will come during a slower time of year for us.”
Instead of two delivery times a day, she said she will likely have just a single delivery during the off-peak traffic times.
“I’m more concerned about my employees getting here and getting home,” Moss said, adding that she has offered to have them park at her house on the south end of town and bike to work.
One business that has already seen a spike in customers as a result of the construction is OSM Delivery Service.
“We’ve had a lot of people starting up new accounts, anticipating that they don’t want to sit in traffic or go all the way around the detour,” OSM owner Janet Princip said. “A lot of people are going to use us, for sure.”
Already, she is in the process of hiring two new drivers, which will bring her total to nine. During the detour, she said she plans to have drivers staged on either side of Glenwood Springs.
“I’ve been in business for 23 years, and we dealt with the Sunlight bridge being down,” she said of the city’s work on the 27th Street bridge project several years ago. “You just work around it.”
Princip said one of her dispatchers who lives in New Castle plans to work from home during the detour, rather than coming into Glenwood.
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