South Bridge Environmental Assessment to move forward
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Engineers will move forward with the South Bridge Environmental Assessment in the near future, according to draft resolution slated for approval at tonight’s regularly scheduled meeting.
According to the draft resolution, the Under Airport North Alternative or alternative 8b, and the Under Airport South Alternative (alternative 10b) are recommended to be carried forward into the Environmental Assessment. A third alternative, a no build option, is also to be included in the assessment, which means that if neither alt. 8b or 10b are found to be viable options for a South Bridge, the city would not be bound to build a bridge.
However, according to Craig Gaskill with Jacob’s Engineering, the city still has to approve supplemental funding to include the second alternative in the assessment before engineers can proceed.
“The original assessment assumed only one alternative,” Gaskill said.
The reason for the assessment is to address questions and concerns regarding the two preferred alternatives and the possible impacts on the environment.
The resolution is currently on Council’s consent agenda for Thursday’s meeting, which means that most likely it would pass without discussion. However, Mayor Bruce Christensen said that he had some questions that he wanted answered before approving the resolution.
Christensen said that he wanted clarification on a cost limit for the assessment, and some “ballpark” figure for the total cost and possible funding sources to build a proposed south bridge.
“I’m a little uncomfortable that [the resolution] did not include an amount up to a certain cost,” Christensen said.
Jacob’s Engineering received the $1.2 million contract for the project, including the assessment. City council requested some additional areas of analysis, which it wanted to be included in the assessment. In January, Jacob’s estimated it would cost an additional $82,000 for the extra assessment.
Approximately $840,000 has been spent so far in the process. However, Garfield County Commissioners have been hesitant to jump back on board with the project after declaring they did not want to move forward with an assessment last November.
Council voted 6-1 in January to move forward with the assessment, after the decision was made to halt the process in November 2009. Christensen feels that the county should have some roll in the project.
“It’s not that I don’t think [the south bridge] would be a nice thing to have, but I don’t think it’s the city’s sole responsibility to build it,” Christensen said. “And not at a cost of $25 million.”
Estimated costs for the project are between $20 million and $30 million.
The South Bridge is intended to provide a critical southern route for emergency evacuation and access, and local land use access from Highway 82 to southern Glenwood Springs neighborhoods.
Gaskill said that the assessment start date is yet to be determined, but could start as early as May.
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