Letter: Additional information on Grand Avenue Bridge
CDOT would like to offer some additional information for residents to consider if they mark the “Citizens to Save Grand Avenue” public opinion ballots that were recently mailed out.
On bridge soundness, it is true that most of the low sufficiency rating (47 out of 100) is due to narrow widths and poor horizontal and vertical clearances. The “structural deficiency” ratings are typically 6 out of 9 points and these numbers will drop as the 60 year-old steel continues to age and be subjected to fatigue issues. Estimates by our structural engineers indicate that the “fatigue life” (think of paper clips being bent and unbent) will be depleted at the riveted connections within the next decade. Additionally, the existing bridge has only 55 percent of the load carrying capacity that current standards recommend for today’s trucks.
The new entrance was selected primarily based on strong input from the local community and stakeholders. The new bridge will reduce congestion at the Sixth and Laurel intersection area, and greatly reduce traffic on Sixth Street, which is a huge boost to pedestrian traffic, especially for tourists in that area.
The accelerated bridge construction, over a two-month shoulder season, was greatly favored by community stakeholders rather than subjecting commuters, locals and tourists to a much longer construction period of a year or more. The two-month bridge closure will include a detour that uses a new connection along Eighth Street and across the existing Roaring Fork River bridge. This will provide additional route options within Glenwood Springs and keep trucks off of Midland Avenue south of Eighth Street. Also — most of the construction of the Sixth and Laurel intersection will be done during the full bridge closure. As a result there will be very little traffic using this intersection.
The new bridge does not preclude another route through town, either a bypass or alternate route, and CDOT is working with the city and the regional communities to move this process forward; keep an eye tuned toward “MPACT 64” – as SH 82 congestion was listed as a top priority in recent meetings.
Joe Elsen, P.E.
CDOT Program engineer
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