Letter: Citizens to Save Grand Avenue weighs in | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Citizens to Save Grand Avenue weighs in

The editorial that appeared in the Aug. 11 Glenwood Springs Post Independent on the Grand Avenue Bridge deserves a response.

It correctly states that “Trucks and other traffic still will disrupt the pedestrian friendliness and tourist ambiance of our downtown main street,” but fails to acknowledge that it is likely to destroy the lifeblood of Glenwood Springs’ economy. It also claims that a Highway 82 alternate route is not going to happen any time in the foreseeable future. This will be especially true if CDOT spends $110 million to accomplish its sole objective of getting the Grand Avenue bridge off its list of non-complying bridges.

Sure, CDOT is getting regional support for this project — Aspen and the Aspen Skiing Co., Pitkin and Garfield counties, Basalt and Carbondale are all for it. Its no skin off their noses, and they couldn’t care less about the damage Glenwood Springs will suffer, so long as the traffic keeps flowing for them. But will it? Wedding Highway 82 traffic to Grand Avenue (which the bridge project will perpetuate) will not relieve the congestion plaguing Grand Avenue — which is bound to become an even bigger problem than it is now.

There are only two ways to resolve the challenge of trying to move ever more Highway 82 traffic through Glenwood Springs: Eliminate the traffic signals on Grand Avenue and raise the speed limit to 40 or 50 mph; or construct additional lanes through town. Sooner or later, CDOT will be forced to make that choice. Which will you support? Incidentally, in its own Corridor Optimization Plan, CDOT has already acknowledged the need for additional traffic lanes through Glenwood Springs within the foreseeable future.

The editorial repeats CDOT’s scare tactics of river scour of the present bridge footings, the structural integrity and age of the bridge, and the hazard presented by the narrow lanes. The river scour problem can easily be solved by building a cofferdam and covering the footings with concrete. CDOT cannot be very concerned about the structural condition of the bridge, because it has no load limit placed on the trucks crossing it. Most of the bridges still serving the New York City area were built more than 80 years ago, including the Brooklyn Bridge, which has had it 130th birthday. And aren’t the 9-foot-8-inch lanes an effective traffic-calming device for Grand Avenue — just what everyone (except CDOT) wants to achieve? As for the proposed reconstruction of the Sixth Street area, who do you expect is going to pay for that, and how far into the future do you think it is likely to happen?

The advice the editorial offers to Glenwood Springs’ residents, visitors and businesses is like telling the victims of rape, “Oh, just get used to it.”

John Haines

chairman, Citizens to Save Grand Avenue

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