Path of destruction |

Path of destruction

Kelley Cox Post Independent0

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Repairs should begin soon to a closed stretch of the Glenwood Canyon bike path, between Shoshone and the Hanging Lake area, according to Colorado Department of Transportation officials.

However, the full extent of the repairs needed and the cost to do the work are still being evaluated, CDOT spokesperson Nancy Shanks said.

The damage was first noticed amid flooding along the Colorado River from the unusually high spring runoff in June. The path was already closed at that time due to the high water, and most of the path east of No Name remained closed until mid-July when the water finally receded.

A two-mile section of the 13-mile-long bike path remains closed as a result of flood damage to two suspended sections of the concrete bike path, each about 100 feet long.

It’s still not known at this point when the work may be completed, and if the path can be fully opened yet this year, Shanks said.

CDOT has obtained $300,000 from the Colorado Transportation Commission contingency fund, and contracted with Lawson Construction to begin clearing debris and making minor repairs, she said.

“Repairs are getting under way, and our hope is to have the work completed and the path back open towards the end of this year,” she said.

The contingency money is also only expected to cover a portion of the total cost to do the repairs.

“We’ll know much more about the schedule and have a better cost estimate when we have sufficient detail on the structural repairs,” Shanks said.

A significant amount of rock rip-rap material will be needed to reinforce the embankment that was lost to the flooding.

“The fact that these embankment repair areas will be difficult to access will also add to the cost,” Shanks said.

When that work begins, a crane will be required to reach the area from the right lane of eastbound Interstate 70. A single lane closure will also be in effect when the crane is in use, she said.

“The damage is more extensive than we had initially estimated,” Shanks said. “That path has been there for 20-plus years, and we’ve never had to do anything like this. We do get flooding every year, but this is the first time we’ve had to do anything of this magnitude.”

The summertime bike path closure has been a challenge for a local business that promotes bicycle tours through Glenwood Canyon as one of its primary offerings.

“It has made a dent financially for us,” said Jeff Neer, owner of Canyon Bikes in Glenwood Springs.

The store rents bicycles and accessories for individuals or groups to ride the canyon. For those who don’t want to ride out and back from town, shuttles are offered to take riders to the east end of the canyon so they can ride downhill back to town.

With the extended bike path closure, Neer said they’ve still been taking people to Dotsero, but have had to shuttle them around the closed area so they can resume their ride on the other side.

“I’d say probably 65 to 70 percent of our customers take the shuttle service,” Neer said. “It lets them ride the entire canyon in one direction.”

As an option, Neer said they’ve also offered to shuttle people to Basalt so they can ride the Rio Grande Trail down to Glenwood Springs.

“It was a nice alternative, but it was kind of a mixed bag response from people,” he said. “Some were happy to do something different, but some were a little disappointed. You don’t have the amenities, with the hiking trails and the Colorado River and rest areas along the way.

“It wasn’t for a lack of tourists this summer that our business was down, though,” he added. “I look forward to a really good year next year.”

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