Bridge EA comment period extended 30 days | AspenTimes.com

Bridge EA comment period extended 30 days

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Traffic flows across the Grand Avenue bridge in Glenwood Springs.

Colorado Department of Transportation officials have formally extended the comment period for people to weigh in on the Highway 82/Grand Avenue Bridge Environmental Assessment for an additional 30 days, through Dec. 31.

The extension allows additional time for local agencies and the public to review and comment on the document, which spells out plans for replacing the highway and pedestrian bridges over the Colorado River and Interstate 70 in downtown Glenwood Springs.

The original deadline to comment had been Dec. 1. Glenwood Springs City Council requested that the comment period be lengthened in order to allow city staff and the city's planning and zoning commission time to go over the fine details of the plan and prepare formal comments.

"We don't want to delay things to the point that it doesn't get built, we just want to make sure what is being planned is what's best for Glenwood Springs," Mayor Leo McKinney said during an open house and public hearing last week regarding the proposed bridge replacement.

Specifically, aspects of the plan related to parking near the Hot Springs Pool once the new bridge is built, a water quality detention pond next to the I-70 interchange, and replacement of the city's public restrooms on Seventh Street need to be addressed, McKinney said.

CDOT officials have noted that the schedule is tight to allow the project to begin construction in fall 2015 as planned.

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"However, providing more time to review the EA is consistent with our goal of ensuring that every voice is heard as part of the EA process," according to a Wednesday press release announcing the extension of the comment period.

CDOT's plans now call for a final decision on the bridge design in the spring, and for construction to begin by fall 2015. A two-year construction phase would include a 90-day full bridge closure and Highway 82 detour from West Glenwood through downtown during the spring of 2017.

Following a three-year planning effort that has involved local elected officials, city staff, business owners, downtown interests and residents, CDOT formally released the bridge assessment in late October. It calls for replacing the existing Grand Avenue bridge with a new structure that would follow a new alignment from Grand on the south to the intersection of Sixth and Laurel and the I-70 interchange on the north.

The total project cost, including planning efforts to date, design work, land acquisition and construction, is estimated at between $110 million and $115 million.

About $99 million of that is to come from Colorado Bridge Enterprise funds, which are allocated specifically for repair and replacement of bridge structures in the state.

The city, Garfield County and the state's regional transportation planning committee have pledged an additional $3 million each to help make up the funding gap. Additional money is being sought from Pitkin and Eagle counties, and the city of Aspen, which depend on Highway 82 for commerce.

TO COMMENT

Copies of the bridge assessment available for review and for overnight check-out at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library at 815 Cooper Ave. Copies are also available at CDOT’s Glenwood Springs offices, 202 Centennial Drive, and at CDOT offices in Grand Junction and Denver, as well as the Federal Highway Administration offices in Lakewood.

The EA and technical reports are also available to view or download here.

Written comments can be provided at any time through Dec. 31 via the project website listed above, or by mail, fax, or email to Joe Elsen at: Colorado Department of Transportation, 202 Centennial St., Glenwood Springs, CO 81601; fax (970) 947-5133; or Joseph.elsen@state.co.us

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