Glenwood trail costs keep rising |

Glenwood trail costs keep rising

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox/Post IndependentThe planned Atkinson Canal Trail would extend from the Mountain Market on the west side of the Roaring Fork River north to this area near the Sunlight Bridge on 27th Street in south Glenwood Springs.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Building a trail along the Roaring Fork River in Glenwood Springs will cost the city more than expected because of groundwater seeping under the trail’s base.

City staffers will seek Glenwood Springs City Council approval on Thursday to increase a contract for work on the first phase of the Atkinson Canal Trail, on the south side of town, by $67,956. Staffers have already OK’d a $58,440 increase to what was originally a $598,387 contract.

The latest request must go to the council because it would increase the cost of the project by 10 percent or more of the original contract. The two cost increases together total $126,396, bringing the overall cost of the contract to $724,783.

The latest extra work entails building a subgrade drainage system to divert groundwater away from the trail’s base and replacing “unsuitable material” under the trail base, according to a memo from the city’s Community Development Department.

Community Development Director Andrew McGregor couldn’t be reached Monday.

Construction started on the first phase of the Atkinson Canal Trail in September. Much of the trail either parallels or is above the Atkinson Canal, according to a staff memo to the council. As a result, the memo explained, “considerable amounts of water have been infiltrating the subgrade and daylighting directly out of the hillside into the canal.”

The problematic groundwater was not detected during geotechnical evaluation and soil testing last December, the memo said.

The first segment of the trail approved for construction begins near the Mountain Market, near Threemile Creek, and runs along the west side of the Roaring Fork River. It will extend some 2,100 feet to the north, to the old Cardiff Bridge. It will be made of a soft surface that can be paved in the future.

The remainder of the trail would stretch another 5,000 feet to the Sunlight Bridge at 27th Street. The cost of the entire project has been estimated at about $4.4 million.

As of late August, the city still needed a few easements from homeowners in order to finish the entire length of the trail. The City Council agreed in March to use its power of eminent domain to condemn the needed easements if they couldn’t be obtained through negotiation within three months after a notice to proceed with construction was issued.

Critics of the trail have said a concrete bike trail would harm wildlife habitat, invade their privacy and lead to littering and vagrancy along the corridor. They contend that easements behind homes on Hager Lane do not allow for a bike corridor.

But supporters dispute those claims and say the trail will provide a safe route to the southern part of town. They believe the city has no legal authority to deviate from the trail’s location because voters have approved public funding for the trail as part of the city’s river corridor plan.

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