Message from police chief: Obey the detour
After nearly two years of planning, well over 100 meetings and countless questions from citizens in our fair town, the Grand Avenue bridge comes down next week.
Never have I taken part in something so impactful, scary and significant that was anticipated and planned — usually the events that impact our community to a degree close to this are disasters and arrive without warning.
The key element to the next three months is the traffic detour that has been laid out and is being finished with signage and striping, temporary signals and flaggers, pavement and fencing as I write this piece.
For the town to function, commerce to continue, safety to be maintained and the new bridge finished efficiently, the detour must function to the best of its ability.
Officers and flaggers will be sharing duties at key intersections throughout the route, and constant evaluation will be taking place as traffic engineers from CDOT and the city look at traffic flows and controls.
Regular reviews of what is happening will be used to determine if changes will improve the detour’s capacity or efficiency.
Commuters headed upvalley to work will be inconvenienced as will locals trying to perform their normal daily routines: shopping, picking up the mail, going to work or running the kids to events.
There is no method to complete this project without interruption and disruption of our routines. That much is for certain and to a large degree out of our control.
What each of us can and must control is how we choose to negotiate the next three months.
Many have changed their travel habits to use a bike, bus or carpool, having heeded the mantra of Plan Ahead, Team Up and Drive Less. Each of those who choose not to contribute to the daily traffic challenge deserve our thanks.
For those who still must or choose to drive, a few key thoughts:
1. Following the vehicle in front of you too closely only makes an accident more likely, it doesn’t get you anywhere quicker.
2. Distracted driving is a frequent cause of accidents in good conditions. Put your phone away.
3. There are going to be more pedestrians and bicyclists. Watch for them and help keep them safe.
4. Aggressive driving, such as pushing through the “yellow” light phase, is unsafe and senseless.
If each of us when driving, walking or riding a bike can be obedient to traffic signals and laws, show a little patience and courtesy to our fellow neighbors and travelers, and pay attention to our surroundings and driving instead of our cellphone, we might just make it to the finish of this monumental project with our sense of community and our sense of humor intact.
Terry Wilson is Glenwood Springs’ chief of police.