Selfies: The gateway to Glenwood Springs is open |

Selfies: The gateway to Glenwood Springs is open

Since the beginning of 2016, the heart of Glenwood Springs has been undergoing a monumental transformation that would be remembered for years to come. The planning for the bridge started long ago, but it didn’t start to feel real for residents until the Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge was dismantled in sections of more than 100 feet on a cold, late night in March 2016.

From then on, changes were constant, and everywhere you looked there seemed to be multiple moving parts around every corner. Soon the Colorado River seemed to be cut in half by the newly formed causeways. Then plywood was laid out along the east wall of the traffic bridge so pedestrians could safely use the makeshift footbridge connecting downtown Glenwood to the Hotel Colorado and beyond. Soon after, a new pedestrian bridge was erected, fixed with a fancy elevator system and multiple viewing decks.

Before we knew it, Aug. 14 was upon us. The dreaded detour had begun and the patience of every Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valley resident was tested. Traffic backed up for miles, and trips that would normally take minutes took hours. The bike paths and RFTA buses quickly filled as people changed their daily routines to make morning and evening commutes easier for everyone. Despite frustrations and multiple bumps in the road, residents worked together and quickly realized this was a team effort.

It was out with the old and in with the new. The piers were formed, the foundation was laid, the concrete was poured. Before our eyes, a grand new bridge took shape. Suddenly the end was in sight, a light at the end of the tunnel. The countdown grew shorter and shorter. The bridge was to open one week early, then two.

On Nov. 6, the Gateway to Glenwood Springs was open for business. Thousands gathered to celebrate, congratulate and cheer. The biggest flag most have ever seen was flying in the cool Colorado mountain breeze, and Glenwood Springs had the true feeling of small town Americana. The community came together for each other and with each other. Suddenly the last 84 days felt worth it.

Glenwood Springs is more than a town, it’s a community. One where the police chief throws out all dignity just for the sake of making people smile. We all survived the detour and the construction of the new Grand Avenue bridge. We were part of history.

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