Basalt’s ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ will get connected via $455,000 sidewalk project
The town of Basalt will spend nearly $455,000 to complete a connection to what is currently dubbed the “Bridge to Nowhere.”
The Town Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to approve funding for the Two Rivers Road sidewalk from Old Pond Park, where the sidewalk now ends, to Spring Creek Bridge. The sidewalk will be built on the south side of Two Rivers Road, west of the Roaring Fork Conservancy’s River Center. It will allow pedestrians to loop around the Basalt River Park and Old Pond Park using unpaved trail and a concrete sidewalk.
The sidewalk is roughly 500 feet long and 71/2 feet wide, but construction is tricky because it requires retaining walls and steel handrail on part of it.
“It’s a lot of money for a short distance,” Councilwoman Jennifer Riffle said.
Councilman Gary Tennenbaum, who also is executive director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, said construction costs are high and there is little prospect of them falling soon.
“If we’re going to do it, now’s the time to do it,” he said.
But Riffle urged the board to wait for better prices.
“I strategically think 12 months out and I think there are a lot of signs of recession,” Riffle said. “How I handle my personal finances, if I think it’s going to be on sale, I wait a little bit. That’s all that I want to bring to this council, and I want to be heard that I want to wait a little bit for this to go on sale. I don’t want it at this really expensive price.”
“Sometimes we wait for 30 years for things to go on sale,” Mayor Jacque Whitsitt replied.
Whitsitt said she supported the staff position that the project should be a priority because there is a lack of connectivity right now. The Spring Creek Bridge has been a “Bridge to Nowhere,” Whitsitt said. When it is used, pedestrians have to use Two Rivers Road, which is seeing increasing levels of traffic.
“I think we have a responsibility to do this,” Whitsitt said. “I wish it wasn’t this much, I agree, but I have to support staff’s position on this.
“I personally think this is a safety issue and it’s been a safety issue for a very long time, or not having the bridge used at all.”
Councilwoman Katie Schwoerer agreed with Riffle that the cost is “astronomical.”
“It is a little stunning to see this number,” she said.
Schwoerer asked if making a gravel path rather than a concrete sidewalk would reduce the cost. Tennenbaum and Town Manager Ryan Mahoney said concrete wasn’t much of a factor in driving the price higher.
The $455,000 project includes everything from design and survey work to construction management to a 12.5% contingency.
Whitsitt, Tennenbaum, Schwoerer and Councilman Ryan Slack approved the project. Riffle opposed it.
In other council action on Tuesday:
• The council approved town staff creating and enforcing a leash law for dogs. It will be implemented at a date to be determined, after staff identifies locations at existing parks that will be dog-friendly.
• The council approved amendments to the town code to allow for new regulations on design, location and permitting requirements for small wireless facilities that will be affiliated with coming 5G technology. State and federal law limits the amount of local regulation of 5G infrastructure.
• The council approved an agreement for design and engineering services with a company called Connect One Design for work on improvements to Arbaney Swimming Pool. The base contract is for $200,000. The company will provide conceptual options and cost estimates for an enhanced kiddie pool, new fencing, improved entrance and full mechanical, electrical and plumbing for the outdated pool pumps.
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