Resident concerned with the safety of Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge |

Resident concerned with the safety of Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Bill Couch of Glenwood Springs is concerned with the safety of the pedestrian bridge that rises from Seventh Street and spans the Colorado River. His other concern is the city’s lack of urgency at looking into the problem that he’s brought to their attention, he said.”No one seems to be concerned with the problem,” Couch said. “It seems like everyone is saying that it’s someone else’s problem.”Couch illustrated several safety issues that were apparent to him, the primary one involving the main section of the pedestrian bridge (spanning the river) that is maintained by the city of Glenwood Springs’ Public Works Department.Couch said he witnessed a group of approximately 20 young children, accompanied by a couple of adults, crossing the bridge on Tuesday, May 15. At that time, Couch said that he watched one small boy sit down and rest his back against the mesh fencing along the handrail, creating a “gap” nearly big enough for the child to fall through.Robin Millyard, public works director for the city of Glenwood Springs, said the city is very concerned with the problem but has staffing issues that prevent the work from being completed.”Most of the field departments are short staffed,” Millyard said. “Some as much as 50 percent and I can’t pull those guys out and have them stop working on their other daily duties to work on these other projects.”Millyard contends the city has had several qualified people look at the bridge and have determined that there is no imminent danger of anyone falling through.”I understand his concern,” Millyard said. “(The condition of the bridge is) not something that’s just happened. It’s been like that for a while, and it’s just one of the many projects that we are trying to get to.”Some of the metal mesh fencing that’s attached at the handrail and the sides of the bridge has already been replaced with a heavier-duty type panel. Millyard said that the public works department did budget money this year for the upgrades to the bridge and is currently in the process of bidding out the work to a private contractor. However, that has posed a problem recently as well.”There is so much private work going on that is so much more lucrative than the city contracts that contractors aren’t even bidding on the city’s projects,” Millyard explained. “That doesn’t mean that the work doesn’t need to be done, we just don’t know how we are going to do it.”Couch also pointed out a gap in the handrails where the south stairs connect to the bridge. There is about a 10-inch vertical gap between the handrails of the bridge and the stairs, easily enough room for a small child to fit through. There is a wire cable in place that zig-zags and covers about half of the gap. But that doesn’t seem to comfort Couch at all.Millyard did go out with Couch and listen to his concerns regarding the bridge. Millyard said he wants the work done as much as anyone but staffing issues create added headaches for the city. But Couch thinks that this should be higher on the priority of the city’s to-do list.”The only thing I can see happen is to fix it, or wait until someone gets hurt,” Couch said.Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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