27th Street Bridge closure begins Thursday
The 14,000 vehicles that cross the 27th Street Bridge in Glenwood Springs daily will need to find an alternative route later this week and through the weekend.
Beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday and lasting until 6 a.m. Monday, the 27th Street Bridge will close for construction crews to install a pedestrian bridge and girders for the new traffic bridge.
Additionally, ahead of the Thursday closure crews will complete mill and overlay asphalt work on 27th Street between State Highway 82 and South Grand Avenue.
“This is going to be a really exciting structural milestone,” project spokeswoman Bryana Starbuck said Tuesday of the bridge replacement project, on which crews began construction in early January.
DETOURS & SETBACKS
During the multi-day closure period, the Eighth Street connection across the Roaring Fork River will serve as the designated detour route for motorists. Additionally, the Old Cardiff and 14th Street pedestrian bridges will provide alternative routes for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“We are asking folks to avoid the area during operations,” Starbuck explained of the relatively small construction zone that will house two 500-ton cranes and 190-foot girders.
“We are asking folks to keep their distance, because we want to make sure that everyone is safe and that we are able to keep our construction schedule on track.”
Also known as the Sunlight Bridge, and although still safe to drive over, state inspectors have deemed the bridge structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.
The bridge received a rating of 10.5 out of 100, making it one of the worst-rated bridges in the state and kicking loose some $2 million in federal and state funding to help pay for the nearly $10 million bridge replacement.
The bridge acts as the city’s main link over the Roaring Fork River to neighborhoods along South Midland Avenue and the Four Mile Road corridor
The infrastructure project’s timeline has also been adjusted due to utility conflicts and Mother Nature.
“It isn’t uncommon for a project of this size to have a shift in its schedule,” Starbuck said, citing challenging waterline locations and this year’s heavy winter.
One concern brought up at a recent City Council meeting was the project timeline extending into the school year. Roaring Fork School District students return for their first day of school on Aug. 19, and the project has an anticipated completion date in December 2019.
“It’s going to be tough,” Starbuck said — particularly for schools in the immediate vicinity, like Sopris Elementary. “Not only will we have the bridge slide when school is in session, but we will also be building a new roundabout.”
As part of the project, crews are to construct a roundabout at the east end of the new bridge, at the intersection of South Grand Avenue and 27th Street.
RIVER USER IMPACTS
According to a Tuesday city press release, the contractor anticipated keeping the Roaring Fork River open during the daytime when the bridge closure will be in effect, with intermittent holds. However, river users should remain prepared to “eddy-out” at 3 Mile Creek if necessary, according to the release.
The contractor did expect full river closures at night.
“Call before you float,” Starbuck said of the 970-618-5379 number river users may dial to hear project updates. Residents may also sign up to receive additional project information via email at cogs.us/NotifyMe.
“This is a big weekend for all of us, with crews working day and night to expedite construction of these valuable pieces of community infrastructure,” added Assistant City Engineer and Project Manager Jessica Bowser in the release.
“Please allow ample travel time through town, and thank you for your patience,” she added.
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Construction for the South Midland project is on schedule, though crews will continue to work on weekends to keep the course.