As community leaders, we were frustrated by the continued closure of the 27th Street bridge for the past week and the impacts on those who depend on this facility. This project was scheduled to be complete by Dec. 5, but it has been opposed by extremely challenging topography, an unseasonably wet early summer, early winter storms, and issues with contractor performance. We are excited that the major impacts are now over and the 27th Street bridge is now open for traffic.
This project has greatly impacted all of us and our families as we sat in traffic alongside our neighbors. Getting to work, kids to school, or running errands has required extra planning and patience and we greatly appreciate the community’s support as we pushed through this final closure. South Glenwood is one of the most populous neighborhoods in Glenwood Springs. Many City staff including the city manager, assistant manager, city engineer and the mayor live with the impacts alongside their neighbors that area. While the major impacts are over, we are still committed to getting this project done efficiently with a high standard of quality as final items are worked on over the next several weeks.
The good news for our community is that the work is near completion and all efforts are underway to complete this project as soon as possible. There are minor impacts remaining on this project now that the bridge is open to traffic. These impacts will include periodic traffic holds with alternating lanes during off-peak hours next week and for the first couple weeks of January as striping and punch-list items are completed. Neighbors of the project can expect holidays without construction noise as crews are not permitted to work on the upcoming holidays.
We continue to ask for the community’s patience during this last bit of construction. In the meantime, the contractor has been using every available technique to complete a quality installation of the pavement while suffering with winter conditions. As many of you will recall, CDOT also constructed through three years of winter conditions for the completion of the Grand Avenue Bridge using these same techniques.
During this project, the bridge has been completely offline for a total of 19 days. This falls short of the goals we set for ourselves and the contractor. The city is reviewing the commitments set forth at the beginning of the project and scrutinizing the staffing levels, equipment availability, and proposed project schedule that led to the prolonging of this project.
As elected officials we have sat in numerous open and executive sessions over the last year where we were briefed on the contract, potential remedies, and risks associated with it. We will do everything in our power to make sure that if issues are revealed with this project, regardless of cause, they are dealt with in a manner that puts the interest of the City and its residents first.
Our Glenwood residents are hardy and resilient and city staff are professional and dedicated. While we all would have liked to have this behind us, we have faced challenges before and risen to the occasion. The continued fight against the mine expansion and the 90-day GAB closure are two of the many examples of Glenwood’s strengths. This temporary but prolonged closure of the 27th St. Bridge demonstrates why we need to press forward on the South Bridge. Glenwood Springs and the entire region needs to have better access and circulation to serve the transportation needs of the community.
As city councilors, we would like to thank our residents for their patience during this challenging project.
Glenwood Springs city councilors are Tony Hershey, Paula Stepp, Steve Davis, Jonathan Godes, Shelley Kaup, Rick Vorhees and Charlie Willman.