Bridge is an albatross around Glenwood’s neck
If you have any problem with how events are unfolding with the proposed Grand Avenue Bridge Project, the time for silence is over. The time that one can believe that our elected officials “know better” has passed. And for the record, I’ve had enough of being told by people of “authority” that this is a done deal, so get over it and live with it.
Folks, as my pappy used to say, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.
This project is an albatross that lacks any true benefits to our town. A needed “gateway to our valley?” Give me a break! Glenwood Canyon is the gateway to our valley. No place in the world has a more magnificent gateway into town.
More traffic volume down our main street will only increase congestion, pollution and speed, which can only reduce our ability to get from one side of town to the other, simply cross the street in a civilized manner and have any chance of maintaining the small-town character and quality of life, which is why we live here in the first place and why tourists love to come here.
Recent articles in the Post Independent are finally exposing the enormous problems that have been suspiciously absent from public discussion for months. CDOT cannot afford to properly build the bridge that it wants and now it has the nerve to come to our City Council and our county commissioners asking for millions of dollars of our tax money to complete a project that local residents were against from the get go.
To add salt to the wound, CDOT is asking Aspen and Pitkin County, which are the sole benefactors of this project, to contribute a fraction of the cost of construction. And if that isn’t insulting enough, we are now told that we have to forfeit planned infrastructure improvements to our town so that this albatross can be built.
Don’t even bring up that now we are being told that the 20 additional minutes that have been estimated to get through Glenwood during construction will only work with carpooling and increased RFTA usage. Let’s have just a touch of honesty here. It’s going to take an extra 45 minutes to an hour to get anywhere. Glenwood Springs will be Bottleneck Springs. And I’ll take hard money now that the stated 60 to 90 day diversion is a boondoggle too.
Folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If any of you have every built or remodeled anything in your life, you are well aware that if you estimate a $10-15 million shortfall it usually is twice that, if you’re lucky.
When this whole process started I had a difference of opinion with the concept of linking any talk of a bypass with being opposed to the bridge, and I still do. Despite the fact that I believe the bypass is a true necessity, I believe by linking the two projects you get shot down time and again by those who say “there are no funds for the bypass, so we must build the bridge.”
I believe we must oppose this bridge project as a single issue. When Aspen and Pitkin County see how the increasing congestion in this valley decreases the “Aspen Experience” we just might start hearing about the reality of a bypass. This will not only improve the “Aspen Experience,” it will prevent the destruction of the “Glenwood Experience,” which is currently being threatened by this project.
It’s time to get off the couch. Call, write, scream, shout and knock on your City Council and county commissioners’ doors and let them know how you feel.
Ed Rosenberg is a longtime resident of Glenwood Springs.
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