Letter: Stopping Grand Avenue bridge won’t build a bypass | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Stopping Grand Avenue bridge won’t build a bypass

Thanks to the Post Independent’s recent editorial, and to Colorado Transportation Commissioner Doug Aden, for clearly pointing out what most of our community already knows: A State Highway 82 bypass is an unrealistic “fantasy” which, if it ever was feasible, long ago ceased to be a viable option for Glenwood Springs.

Here are just a few reasons:

• It’s too expensive; possibly costing $1 billion or more.

• Neither the state nor the city can afford it.

• A bypass would decrease potential customers for many Grand Avenue businesses, which benefit from passing motorists.

• Most potential bypass routes would impact numerous homes and businesses and require unacceptable amounts of private property condemnation.

• The Roaring Fork River route favored by many bypass fans would likely interfere with realigning Eighth Street, redeveloping the confluence area and the ability to locate future parks, neighborhoods and local circulator streets along the river.

• That alignment’s environmental impacts would be severe, and not likely to survive a federal environmental impact statement review.

• Growth forecasts suggesting the need for a bypass are based largely on expectations of perpetual 2 percent annual growth in vehicle trips, despite the fact that today’s Americans are driving fewer miles.

• Studies show that only one-third of our traffic originates and ends outside Glenwood Springs, and would thus benefit from a bypass. Two-thirds of our vehicle trips are either entirely within the city, or leave from or end here. Yes, we have peak periods of congestion from out-of-town commuters and delivery trucks – but the truth is, most of our traffic is caused by local residents or those who work here.

In short, it’s time to retire the fantasy that stopping the much-needed Grand Avenue bridge replacement project will somehow revive the prospects for a SH-82 bypass. That horse left the stable years ago, folks, and it ain’t coming back.

Russ Arensman

Glenwood Springs

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