Guest opinion: What are you doing to prepare for the detour? |

Guest opinion: What are you doing to prepare for the detour?

Kathleen Wanatowicz
Klaus Kocher |

I know that oftentimes the impact of constructing large infrastructure projects can seem overwhelming. Why are they doing this to me? Is this project helping me or benefiting someone else?

“Infrastructure” is a term used to describe the basic structures and improvements needed in order for society to operate and function. Replacement of the Grand Avenue Bridge is a critical infrastructure project — after construction is completed, it will enhance our basic infrastructure and in turn help us get around and function better in our daily lives.

The Grand Avenue Bridge traffic detour is quickly approaching. Aug. 14 will be here soon, and the time to start thinking about how you will deal with it is fast approaching.

For the traffic bridge detour to operate efficiently, a significant reduction in vehicle trips and traffic is needed.

If you haven’t tuned into the project, if you are taking the wait-and-see approach, if you don’t plan to make changes, if you don’t consider the reality of the detour’s impacts — you are missing an opportunity to plan and be prepared.

The contractor will be working multiple consecutive day and night shifts while the detour is in effect. Several critical aspects of construction are planned, orchestrated and executed in a finite schedule. In order to successfully work through the expedited bridge-building process, the contractor must be able to receive materials, access the project and have basic mobility throughout the area for crews and equipment.

The contractors are looking at ways in which they can avoid the detour route during the accelerated bridge construction to avoid compounding traffic delays. Given that there are limited routes that aren’t weight-restricted to the project, the contractors will use the detour route in order to successfully work through the construction process.

Working together is the only way to keep traffic levels in check.

This effort is communitywide — if we are not able to make voluntary reduction in vehicle trips around Glenwood Springs, the impact may compound throughout the region.

You have heard us say this before, but we can’t say this enough: Everyone ­— every employer, every agency, every individual — should be developing goals and creating a plan to reach this much-needed reduction in traffic.

I live in Carbondale and plan on parking in the southwest corner of the American Furniture Warehouse lot then taking the bus or riding my bike to my downtown office. I plan on shopping on Sundays and leaving for Denver at 4 a.m. when I must go to avoid the peak travel times in Glenwood Springs.

As a business owner, I am working with my staff on telecommuting and shift scheduling options. My team is planning on having an office bike to get to our meetings throughout the day and is planning on using public transportation.

There are many strategies that we as a community can leverage. Simply put, no change in driving habits will result in one-hour delays one way during peak travel times; if habits do change and a 35 percent reduction in traffic is attained, a 15-minute delay is anticipated. There is no silver bullet, no one-size-fits-all solution. What are you doing to prepare for the detour?

How will you help to contribute to our community infrastructure needs? Contact my office if want to know more about the tools we have to help you get through the detour.

Kathleen Wanatowicz is public information manager for the Grand Avenue bridge project. Reach her at or 970-618-5114.

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