Paving project put in park for a year |

Paving project put in park for a year

Greg Masse

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Colorado Department of Transportation on Monday postponed the much-dreaded Grand Avenue Paving Project for a year to the spring of 2005.

The project is looked at by some as the second – and in some cases possibly the knockout – blow to businesses on Glenwood’s main street. Merchants say they’re already suffering losses from the city’s water line project now being done on Grand Avenue.

Those concerns helped convince CDOT officials to delay the bigger project.

CDOT project manager Steve Olson said the main reason for the year-long postponement is because it’s “in everybody’s best interest to delay it a year.”

The $3 million project, originally slated for February through December 2004, will be delayed exactly a year.

Olson said the funds will be available in 2005 and any cost inflation should be balance by better and more efficient plans.

“I think it’ll be a wash,” he said of the cost of the delay.

When it’s finally done, the project will replace the roadway surface of Grand Avenue from 7th to 23rd streets.

The idea to hold off on the $3 million project originally came from city leaders, including members of City Council, the Downtown Development Authority and city staff, Olson said.

Also, business owners have entered the conversation since the water line project commenced.

“We’ve been talking about it for a while,” Olson said. “We were kind of hesitant to delay it for a year because we feel the pain is going to be significant whenever we do it.

“But then we figured if the pain is going to be significant, maybe we could take a year to do some more planning,” he said.

A chance to do it better

Once CDOT looked into the idea of putting off the project for a year, the agency found some benefits as well.

Olson said the delay gives the city a chance to complete planned improvements at the intersection of West Midland Avenue and the West Glenwood interchange of Interstate 70, as well as intersection improvements at Midland Avenue and 8th Street.

It could also give the city another chance to reintegrate improvements such as bus pullouts, decorative crosswalks and the possible closure and embellishment of the east wing street into the GAPP plan.

“We thought that would be a benefit,” Olson said. “We’re not sure if they’ll get done, but there’s more of a chance for those improvements.”

Olson said the city will get a chance to replace or repair storm and sanitary sewers along Grand Avenue.

The delay also gives CDOT more of a chance to heed lessons learned by the city during the water line project and the revamping of the intersection at 23rd Street and Grand Avenue, which began Monday.

Although it would have been CDOT’s preference to keep the project on schedule, Olson said the extra year will give him time to plan a more efficient project, and find ways to avoid major problems.

“It helps me a bunch. It gives me more time to produce a better project,” Olson said. “Now we have to find another project to replace it . It’ll either be an interstate or a state highway. It’s not going to be in Glenwood proper.”

Olson said after two weeks of talks with the city and the local business community, he feels CDOT made the right choice in delaying the project.

“Once we started talking about it, I’d say everyone supported it,” he said. “We hope the DDA and businesses appreciate us putting it off a year. We haven’t heard any negatives and it seems like everyone’s behind it.”

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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