Why lane closures are needed on the Grand Avenue bridge | PostIndependent.com

Why lane closures are needed on the Grand Avenue bridge

Tom Newland

Work continues on the Grand Avenue bridge replacement project.
Klaus Kocher |

One-lane closures on the Grand Avenue Bridge can cause local traffic clogs but are necessary for work access and pedestrian flow.

Many people have asked us about the need to close lanes of traffic on the Grand Avenue bridge. Simply put, the contractor is working within a very small area to accomplish heavy civil construction activities, such as pouring concrete, building structural walls for the traffic bridge and working on the new south traffic bridge abutment. The goal is to accomplish as much work as possible ahead of the detour to ensure an efficient schedule.

The contractor is also balancing the needs of the downtown pedestrians by maintaining a 4-foot pedestrian walkway between Seventh and Eighth streets. Pedestrian access has been a top priority on the project but often requires some creative maneuvering of equipment and lane closures to maintain this access.

The current traffic bridge is very narrow with no shoulder. This constraint limits the available space required to work on the new bridge construction. This means lane closures are necessary for crews to access the work areas for the new traffic bridge. For example, the 9-foot-wide traffic lane cannot adequately stage a concrete truck, let alone a concrete truck with three lanes of traffic open. We anticipate these one-lane closures to continue until Aug. 14, when the traffic bridge will close.

There is a lane closure restriction in place designated by the Colorado Department of Transportation: Two lanes of traffic must be open in the northbound (downvalley) lanes from 3-7 p.m. and in the southbound (upvalley) lanes from 6-9 a.m. The restrictions are in place to maximize capacity during peak travel times.

The Grand Avenue bridge can close to one lane of traffic in either direction between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. We advertise these lane closures as periodic one-lane closures on the Grand Avenue bridge. The good news is we typically do not have lane closures on the weekend.

Work on the Interstate 70 Exit 116 westbound off-ramp often requires a lane closure on Sixth Street that can back up the traffic on the bridge as well.

Other traffic impacts this week:

• Midland Avenue paving begins today; expect delays.

• Night closures of Ninth and Eighth streets are planned next week from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.