Glenwood council pans consultant’s Highway 82 work | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood council pans consultant’s Highway 82 work

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs correspondentAspen, CO Colorado

Chad Spangler/Post IndependentRush-hour traffic flows on Highway 82 just outside of Glenwood Springs on Friday evening. The Glenwood Springs City Council recently criticized a consultant firms work on a possible Highway 82 alternative.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS The Glenwood Springs City Council this week blasted a consultants work on a possible Highway 82 alternative and said more public consensus is needed to move ahead.Im very disappointed that we got almost nothing out of the work thats been done to this point, said Mayor Bruce Christensen said at a council meeting Thursday. He added later, I have a problem that weve spent a lot of money on this firm and we have nothing right now.The latest Highway 82 study, called a corridor optimization plan (COP), follows a corridor optimization study and a corridor conditions assessment, and other studies some 11 efforts spanning more than 30 years none of which produced a clear direction on how to deal with Highway 82 congestion in downtown Glenwood.Officials have praised the latest study because its said to be the only one thats included the city, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.The city awarded a $93,543 contract to PBS&J in early 2008 and said the latest study would narrow possible Highway 82 alternatives down to the best two or three options. Those options were to be taken through the National Environmental Policy Act process, which could require another year before action on a solution could begin.But instead, according to City Manager Jeff Hecksel, the PBS&J project management team stopped work about midway through the process because it wasnt getting the results it thought it was going to get.Jim Hanson said the city, the Colorado Department of Transportation, PBS&J, and others decided to change direction after a public meeting earlier this year that indicated the public doesn’t want Highway 82 to be relocated. Now PBS&J is trying to better address other options, though there don’t seem to be any alternatives that a community majority supports.Hanson is a PBS&J project manager.PBS&J also completed the corridor optimization study for about $186,772 early last year. It identified 22 possibilities for Highway 82, ranging from simply adjusting the timing on traffic lights to building a new route along Lookout Mountain for $600 million or more. One alternative in the study that some residents favor is putting Highway 82 in the railroad right-of-way east of the Roaring Fork River. Others think the idea is ridiculous and wouldnt solve anything. PBS&J also completed the previous corridor conditions assessment.After the latest study didnt turn out as expected, PBS&J submitted a revised scope of work to the city in September, indicating it would finish the necessary steps for $171,074 an amount that could change. The document identifies seven tasks outlined in detail, including: develop a draft problem statement, refine evaluation criteria, develop elements, and evaluate elements and package into strategies. One task includes hiring sub-consultants.The document says, The COP process is dynamic in that the problem statement and the specific strategies identified to address the problem statement will impact the level of analysis required to evaluate each strategy. It may be necessary to collect new data to properly evaluate the strategies.I guess I dont see this getting us anywhere, said Councilman Dave Merritt. Maybe Im getting crochety as Im passing my seven year mark on council with many studies on my bookshelf at home. What Im hearing from citizens is we need to do something, not just continue to study.The City Council plans to discuss the issue again before awarding the revised scope of work to PBS&J. Council members worried there isnt enough public involvement in PBS&Js new plan.pfowler@postindependent.com

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