Work on Midland, Eighth Street to start in June
The end of school will mean the start of work on improvements to the intersection of Eighth Street and Midland Avenue in Glenwood Springs.City engineer Larry Thompson said he expects the installation of a traffic light and other work on the intersection to start in early June, as soon as the school year is over.Once summer vacation starts, “Traffic volumes seem to drop a little bit, especially along that area,” Thompson said.Even so, the work promises to put added strain on the city’s transportation system. The city plans to begin construction on roundabouts on the north and south sides of Interstate 70 at Exit 114 in West Glenwood, at the western end of Midland, in April or May.Meanwhile, the Eighth Street/Midland work essentially will require that Midland be shut down south of the intersection, Thompson said.”We’re anticipating that Grand (Avenue) is going to have to pick up some of the additional load. It’s a very extensive reconstruction project with a lot of utility relocation and lowering of the intersection to make for a safer approach grade on Eighth Street,” he said.The city had planned all along to wait on the work until the Grand Avenue Paving Project was completed, so as not to further slow traffic through town. But while GAPP may finish in April rather than late May as originally anticipated, Thompson said the city thinks it still will be better to wait until school is out to start the new project.The city is taking bids on the project, for which it has budgeted $1.6 million. It had considered a roundabout for the intersection, but that would have been more expensive and created more impacts in terms of the additional land the roundabout would have required.The work is expected to take about four months. The goal is to complete it before October’s scheduled opening of Glenwood Meadows. The 400,000 square feet of commercial space there will put additional strain on an intersection that already backs up during morning and evening rush hours.”I think the GAPP project has made it somewhat worse but it was a growing problem even before the GAPP project started,” Thompson said.”The problem is expected to grow much worse than it is now with the Meadows if we do nothing.”During most of the construction, the city hopes to be able to let traffic continue to go north onto Midland from Eighth Street. Thompson said the city may acquire a temporary easement on land at the intersection’s northeast corner to make it easier for that to happen.Residents living on Red Mountain and along Midland to the south of Eighth Street generally will have to get to their homes via the 27th Street bridge. Thompson said the city won’t encourage use of Red Mountain Drive as a detour route. The street has a one-lane bridge, and the city also doesn’t want additional traffic to impact the neighborhood there.The city plans to hold an informational meeting on the project once a contractor is selected.With GAPP having gone more smoothly and quickly than expected, motorists may expect the same of the intersection project.”There’s nothing wrong with them hoping for the same. I fear that they’re expecting the same. We’re all hoping for the same,” Thompson said.It’s his wish that the patience people have learned to show during GAPP will transfer over to the intersection project.”I’m hoping it’s not that people are about at the end of their patience and it’s going to blow up when it lasts through the end of the summer,” he said.It may help for motorists to keep the end in mind during the inconvenience created by the project.”Hopefully it will meet everyone’s needs once the construction is done.”Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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