Week in Review
Motorists traveling through Glenwood Canyon will find the eastbound bore of the Hanging Lake tunnels closed indefinitely. The Colorado Department of Transportation announced Friday engineers have found that a crack in the bore had widened to a point where it was no longer safe to drive through the tunnel.Engineers had been monitoring the crack over the past year, and an inspection Friday showed that the crack had recently expanded.”We are taking every precaution to ensure public safety,” said CDOT Executive Director Russ George in a prepared statement. “We believe the tunnel is stable and don’t anticipate a structural failure; however, we’re going to err on the side of caution and make the necessary repairs to be certain there is no risk to motorists before we reopen the tunnel to traffic.The westbound bore will be open to one-lane traffic in each direction.
Like any public official, he has his critics. But much of the Garfield County legal community seems to be generally satisfied with District Attorney Martin Beeson’s handling of the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.Beeson took over as DA Jan. 6 last year, after Republican Colleen Truden was recalled. Beeson, a Republican, has strong Christian beliefs and is politically conservative. Some have raised concerns about his religious beliefs and say he is too rigid in his decision-making, tying the hands of his deputy district attorneys and over-prosecuting in certain cases. But even many of his critics seem to like him and say he’s a man with a high level of integrity.It’s clear the office is much more stable from the standpoint of turnover. During Truden’s term in office 11 people were fired or resigned in about 11 months. Truden took office in January 2005. Voters decided by a 4-to-1 margin on Dec. 13, 2005, to recall Truden from office. Beeson said only three attorneys and one victim’s advocate have left since he took over.
A consultant for a development on Four Mile Road says widening the Sunlight Bridge is a better short-term solution than the south bridge proposal for dealing with traffic congestion in that part of Glenwood Springs.A company working for the Reserve at Elk Meadows project says widening the bridge to three lanes by 2015 would “best address future operational problems” along 27th Street and delay the need for a south bridge until sometime after 2025.If the south bridge was built but the Sunlight Bridge was kept to two lanes, problems with traffic backups at the Sunlight Bridge could occur by 2020, the Felsburg Holt & Ullevig engineering company said in its report. Doing nothing could result in backups by 2015.
A dispute between trail advocates and some city residents is headed to a showdown before Glenwood Springs City Council next month.On April 19, City Council is expected to consider extending a city trail system along the Roaring Fork River by Hager Lane, which is near the Sunlight Bridge. A few Hager Lane residents say the project would unduly infringe on their privacy. Advocates of the trail route say the residents knew all along, or should have known, what has been planned there since the early 1990s.The city’s River Commission has endorsed building the trail along the Atkinson Ditch, which runs below Hager Lane. Several residents spoke out against the trail before the commission’s decision.Council member Joe O’Donnell, a supporter of the planned route for the trail, expects to hear similar opposition from those residents April 19. “Anybody who is in favor of that trail had better come to that meeting on the 19th,” he said.Hager Lane resident Mike Gettinger said the city is pursuing an outdated plan in trying to push the trail through behind residences there.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is considering an idea aimed at reducing problems for rafting companies during a construction project in Glenwood Canyon starting in May.The question is whether it would create backups on Interstate 70 in the process.Companies have proposed a way to keep rafting vehicles from having to detour to Hanging Lake and back to reach the Shoshone exit boat launch during the two-month project.Contractors are scheduled to begin work May 7 on a major resurfacing of eastbound I-70 from No Name to Grizzly Creek. The work will require shutting down eastbound lanes and running two-way traffic on normally westbound I-70 all the way from the No Name to Hanging Lake tunnels. Because of differences in grade between eastbound and westbound lanes, the closest feasible places to divert traffic is at the tunnels.The work also is forcing the closure of some exit and entrance ramps, resulting in some detours involving the No Name, Grizzly Creek and Shoshone interchanges. Among those detours, getting to Shoshone will require continuing east to Hanging Lake, coming back to Grizzly Creek and then getting on the eastbound I-70 lanes, which will be open between Grizzly and Shoshone only for access to Shoshone.Rafting companies operate on a strict put-in schedule at Shoshone and are worried about the extra driving time that detour would require. They are proposing being allowed to avoid the Hanging Lake loop by getting off at the westbound on-ramp at Grizzly Creek. That would require flaggers at both ends of the on-ramp, which will remain open to westbound traffic. It also would require stopping I-70 traffic as needed to let the rafting vehicles exit.
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