South Bridge an unrealistic goal, but GAPP is back |

South Bridge an unrealistic goal, but GAPP is back

The Colorado Department of Transportation made one surprising announcement last week, and another that simply confirms what many observers already know.

The surprise was the apparent rescheduling, for a second time, of the Grand Avenue Paving Project. With a wad of federal money burning a hole in Gov. Owens’ pocket, CDOT planners were looking for a ready-to-go project to launch this summer.

So they plan to move the GAPP, originally scheduled to start in February 2004, then pushed off to 2005, back to July 2004.

No matter when it happens, GAPP is going to be a big hassle for residents, commuters and tourists. Having long stretches of Grand Avenue torn up for months of repaving work will make getting around town a pain.

The one advantage to starting this summer is that the work will be done by fall of 2005, when the Glenwood Meadows commercial development is slated to open. Grand Avenue businesses will take a hit during construction, but shoppers won’t yet have Target and Lowe’s as an alternative.

Meanwhile, CDOT resident engineer Karen Rowe said projections for declining funding led planners to delay CDOT’s part of the South Bridge project in Glenwood Springs until 2010 or beyond.

The project is a new roadway running from Airport Road across the Roaring Fork River to Highway 82.

It’s no surprise, since Glenwood Springs and Garfield County officials have already backed away from the $7 million-plus price tag for their share of the project.

Add to that the continued debate over the future of the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport, and it’s clear the South Bridge project is not ready for funding.

CDOT has plenty of higher priorities for spending its dwindling dollars. That includes making sure the GAPP project is done as efficiently as possible.

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