Study for south bridge in Glenwood Springs is now in early stages | PostIndependent.com

Study for south bridge in Glenwood Springs is now in early stages

Pete Fowler
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” It’s expected to take six months to come up with the best alternatives for a new bridge over the Roaring Fork River in south Glenwood Springs.

All options are on the table, and the best plan could even include a “no action” alternative.

After the options are identified, an environmental assessment process of top alternatives is expected to begin, said Tom Newland, a subconsultant hired by the Carter Burgess Inc. consulting firm, which has a contract with the city of Glenwood Springs. The environmental assessment should take about 18 months.

“When we get to the end of this process and we have a decision document, which defines what the preferred alternative is, only then can the agencies, Glenwood Springs and Garfield County, actually be able to move forward on doing any design or implementation,” said Craig Carter, of Carter Burgess.

Representatives of Glenwood Springs, Garfield County, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have begun meetings on the project. Tuesday night was the first night a group of stakeholders met. They’re people who may be impacted by the south bridge project.

The idea of a new bridge across the Roaring Fork River in south Glenwood Springs has been around since at least 1996. A study then and a follow-up study in 2002 suggested the best location for the bridge is at or just north or south of the municipal airport. But this study is different, Newland said, and just because those studies suggested using the area of the airport for a bridge doesn’t mean this study necessarily will.

The study will use federal funds so it must undergo the National Environmental Protection Act process. The focus is on emergency access and access to land use rather than just easing traffic congestion in Glenwood Springs.

The Coal Seam Fire in 2002 caused concern about the limited emergency access routes to and from the south Glenwood and Four Mile Road areas. That resulted in a request to Congress, which led to about $5 million in federal funding for the south bridge project.

“We’re really focusing on this as an improvement to provide local access to this area as opposed to a bypass or alternate route,” Newland said in an interview Wednesday.

Focusing on the project not being a bypass could prove difficult, as discussion during a meeting Tuesday night suggested. A corridor optimization study has identified a route including south bridge and Midland Avenue as an alternative to keeping Highway 82 traffic on Grand Avenue. But city engineer Mike McDill said previously that the study ranks that option below at least two or three other options.

Newland said this study won’t preclude the option of using Midland and a south bridge as a bypass or alternative to Highway 82.

A public open house and introduction to the project will be held Feb. 7. Another will be held sometime in April to reveal the preferred alternatives. Information about the project should become available at http://www.glenwoodsouthbridge.com within a few weeks. Anyone interested can contact Newland at 927-4645 or by e-mail at

tomn@sopris.net.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

pfowler@postindependent.com

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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