Make sure your bridge questions are answered
Sometime around the spring of 2017, those of you who use the Grand Avenue Bridge will have your lives turned upside down for about three months, barring any unforeseen issues.
From my perspective, we need this new bridge, although construction must not begin until all of our questions are answered to our satisfaction. Why should you be at the CDOT public hearing at 5 p.m. today at the Glenwood Springs Elementary School? If you don’t know the answer to the following questions, I’d suggest you attend:
1. What if I have a heart attack or some other medical emergency? With the bridge closed, what is the back-up plan to get me to an ambulance and a hospital in time to save my life?
2. How will my kids get to school and will they have to get up earlier and/or get home later?
3. I rely on RFTA to get to work. How will this affect my daily routine?
4. I own a business on Grand Avenue. Will there be an alternative that will easily allow shoppers to get to my place so I can generate enough income to keep from closing my business or laying off employees?
5. What is going to happen to Sixth Street when all of the traffic is diverted?
6. What will the bridge really look like once completed? Will it be ugly or will it complement our beautiful city?
7. Why is it going to cost us in excess of $100 million in tax money?
8. Is the 61-year-old bridge really so unsafe that it needs to be replaced?
9. Why can’t we just put in a much-needed bypass now or wait a couple of years to complete both together and have one disruption in our lives?
10. My house is on fire; will the fire department be able to get there during construction quickly enough to save it?
Monday evening I spent a few hours discussing the bridge with a group called Partners 4 Glenwood. This is a group of concerned citizens that include City Council members and ordinary folks like you and me. I guess council members are like you and me, although they have the thankless task of making good decisions on our behalf.
Beyond the bridge, we discussed whether it was possible to get far more people proactively interested in their community in a positive manner, as opposed to angrily reactive after the decisions are made. I am skeptical based on my experience throughout the country. But I’m not giving up. If just two of you show up because you read this column, I will be happy. If 10 show, I’ll be happily surprised.
Our group is doing its part to provide a good audience for CDOT tonight. Not because we are for or against the bridge but because we feel it is important that you educate yourselves and make sure your questions are answered. I am sure you have a question that I didn’t not raise in my list above.
You can read the environmental assessment that came out recently at the library downtown or online by following the link: http://www.coloradodot.info/projects/sh82grandavenuebridge.
Once you learn more tonight or by reading the study, what questions are unanswered for you? Public hearings are meant to help government flesh out questions that affect our lives as citizens. It is our responsibility to bring those questions to the top and gain satisfactory answers. Once you learn more, you will have until Dec. 1 (an extension is being sought) to pose your questions to CDOT via Joe Elsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a morning guy who generally awakes at 5 a.m. without an alarm. Trust me, evening meetings after a long day of work are not where I care to be. If you do attend tonight, please say hello and help make certain CDOT does the right thing for our community.
Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent.
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