Time to work together for a new bridge
Don Gillespie, Shelley Kaup, Sandy Lowell, Mike Fowler, Ralph Trapani, Kathy Trauger
The Glenwood Springs Transportation Commission is a diverse group of six citizens who volunteered and were appointed by the City Council. This diverse group adds perspective and provides input to the City Council and staff on many of the transportation issues that we face in our community. We meet at least monthly (first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 to 9 a.m.) in the engineering conference room at City Hall.
With a great deal of thought, input and deliberation, we support the Grand Avenue bridge replacement. Our primary reasons for support are:
• The current bridge is rated “poor” due to its inadequate geometry and structural deficiencies. At approximately 60 years old, the bridge is nearing the end of its useful service life. Major rehabilitation work would be required to significantly extend the long-term utility of the bridge. A new bridge will also provide an opportunity to create a more attractive entrance to our city.
• Funding is available from the State of Colorado Bridge Enterprise Fund which can be used only for bridge projects. These funds cannot be redirected to non-bridge projects. If Glenwood Springs does not support building a new bridge now, CDOT will reallocate the money to other high-priority bridge projects elsewhere in the state and the Grand Avenue bridge replacement will go away for the foreseeable future.
• CDOT’s process of developing this bridge design has been extensive, thorough and fair. It is time to work together and build a bridge of which we will all be proud.
The bridge replacement project, through input from Glenwood Springs citizens, will solve other safety and function issues with the old bridge. The new bridge will:
• Improve the 6th and Laurel intersection.
• Eliminate the bridge pier in the Colorado River, which is considered to be “scour critical.”
• Remove Highway traffic from 6th Street between Laurel and Pine streets.
• Improve the on/off-ramps at Exit 116 interchange.
• Allow RFTA buses to cross the Grand Avenue bridge.
The city’s Transportation Commission acknowledges that the bridge replacement does not solve all of the traffic issues associated with the highway in the city; however it does replace and upgrade an aging bridge that is beyond its anticipated lifespan, and provides other related benefits. For these reasons the Transportation Commission supports the proposed replacement of the Highway 82 Grand Avenue bridge.
On another note, the update to the Glenwood Springs Long Range Transportation Plan is currently under way. This update builds on the successes of the previous plan that was developed in 2003. The intent is to have this plan be developed by the community and be dynamic so as to be constantly current.
All forms of transportation — car, truck, bike, pedestrian and transit are being addressed. Your Transportation Commission along with the River Commission, city staff, City Council and interested citizens are currently working on this long-range plan to make it relevant, useful and lasting. We encourage all citizens to get involved by visiting: http://www.glenwoodspringstransportationplan.com/
Let’s get ahead of the curve and build a better Glenwood Springs.
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