Still time to change GAPP design
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” State transportation officials said Thursday there is still time to alter the design of the Grand Avenue Paving Project.
In response to public comments regarding the downtown street repair project, CDOT program engineer Joe Elsen said he would look into paving the highway with asphalt instead of concrete, but he made no promises CDOT would go that way.
A special meeting will be scheduled in March, after the project’s design is more complete, to get one more dose of public input before the final project design is chosen, Elsen and City Council decided. CDOT plans to put the project out for bid on May 7.
At issue is the proposed time line of each paving method.
Earlier estimates indicated that concrete paving downtown would take six months, while paving the same stretch with asphalt would take much less time.
CDOT resident engineer Karen Rowe said her earlier estimate that the asphalt option would take three weeks was most likely inaccurate, and it would take at least six weeks.
“They’re very early in the plan. I probably, in retrospect, should not have given time frames,” she told council.
Rowe also said she spoke with potential contractors for the project and they said the six-month estimate for the concrete option could be inaccurate, as well.
“The concrete estimate was very conservative,” she said, adding that contractors said it could take half that time.
Both Rowe and Elsen pushed for the concrete option, saying it would last a long time.
“We see the investment in concrete pavement as being very beneficial to the public,” Elsen said. “We want to get in and get out, then stay out.”
Rowe said concrete will last up to 30 years with minimal maintenance, while asphalt would need to be replaced every eight years.
Councilman Dave Merritt asked if a March decision to go with asphalt would allow CDOT enough time to prepare a bid package by the May 7 bid date.
“Yes, I would think we’d still be able to prepare bid documents by May 7 if we decided to go that way,” Rowe said.
Several concerned downtown business owners and residents showed up at Thursday’s meeting to voice their opinions on the project.
Downtown resident Joni Weir was upset that the project was suddenly moved from 2005 to 2004.
“There needs to be a lot more planning,” she said. “It seems that project that was supposed to be next year ” it’s here, it’s now, it’s in my face.”
Joel Karr, owner of Sacred Grounds downtown, asked CDOT to avoid construction on the project in the downtown blocks from July through Labor Day, as that’s his high season.
Another downtown business owner suggested that others downtown should give the idea of using concrete a chance because it will last a long time and CDOT won’t have to come back to do major work for decades.
Main Street Gallery owner Frank Norwood was dubious about how much meetings and public input would really help.
“I have to say I’m skeptical that anything we say here today will have any impact at all on these folks,” he said.
Becky Spagnolo, who owns Spagnolo’s Restaurant and Pizza with her husband Corey, suggested that CDOT should use asphalt to pave the highway.
“I think it would be a great idea if we could stick with the plan that’s the fastest,” she said. “Maybe in eight years the economy will be better.”
Earlier in the meeting, Councilman Bruce Christensen had pointed out that businesses have had a rough go of it during the past two years because of the Coal Seam Fire in 2002 and the Grand Avenue water line replacement project in 2003. He suggested that moving GAPP to 2005 could give businesses some time to recover.
Becky Spagnolo also suggested that there will likely be more parking in the downtown core in eight years.
“That could take some of the pressure off,” she said.
The date for the special City Council meeting has not yet been set.
In other business, City Council denied a request for a variance that would have allowed Ron Dickman to create a lot and a rockfall mitigation fence in a parcel of land on Hagar Lane that has more than a 30-degree slope.
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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Eastbound Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon remains closed Monday evening due to a wreck on the east side of the canyon near Dotsero.