Three Mile Creek culvert fix in the works |

Three Mile Creek culvert fix in the works

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Planning is under way to replace a deteriorating culvert that takes Three Mile Creek under Midland Avenue.

“We had some sinkage issues around the culvert during the high spring runoff earlier this year,” said Dave Betley, assistant public works director for the city of Glenwood Springs.

At one point in June, the culvert was failing due to a large sinkhole, which threatened to close the only street connection between the South Glenwood and Four Mile area and the main part of Glenwood Springs.

“We were out there within a day and got that fixed,” Betley said. “We’ve been monitoring it since, and the road seems to be structurally fine.”

The culvert will eventually need to be replaced, but that probably won’t happen until next spring before the runoff starts again, he said.

Recently, city crews put up jersey barriers on either side of Midland Avenue, just north of Mount Sopris Drive where Three Mile Creek comes through.

The barrier on the west side of the roadway is intended to prevent motorists from driving into the area where the sinkhole started. Crews will also be able to keep an eye on the barrier for any more sinking, Betley said.

Crews also placed a barrier on the other side of the road to protect bicyclists and pedestrians on a section of sidewalk that comes close to traffic, he said.

“We got some calls from people who said they felt it was unsafe to walk along that exposed section, so we put up a barrier on that side as well,” he said.

Betley said part of the existing culvert is a remaining section of the old one-lane concrete bridge that used to cross the creek.

When the road was widened to two lanes, the corrugated steel culvert was installed upstream of the concrete section. Over the years, the steel culvert had rusted through in places and started to buckle against the older concrete section, he said. Pressure from the high runoff made the problem worse.

The city plans to replace the entire culvert with a new concrete box culvert, which involves working with the Army Corps of Engineers to come up with an acceptable design that will withstand future high runoff years, Betley said. The Corps will also need to issue a permit before the work can begin.

“We’ve finished the runoff model, and have hired a consultant to look at a structural design,” he said. “Unless we start noticing some significant failures in the roadway, we’ll probably wait until spring.”

The city is shooting for construction during spring break in March in order to sidestep the extra traffic to and from nearby Sopris Elementary School, he said.

At the time construction does begin, motorists can expect Midland Avenue to be down to one lane through that section.

“We are aware that it is a public safety issue, and we’ll try to move forward soon as possible with the least amount of impact to the traveling public,” Betley said.

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