Task force to begin weighing Glenwood Springs bridge design options | AspenTimes.com

Task force to begin weighing Glenwood Springs bridge design options

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Grand Avenue Bridge project team is taking the design process to the next level of detail, including the formation of a new design-issues task force and a series of public meetings this spring to talk about design options.

“This is the next phase of input, where we really get into the details of the design,” said Craig Gaskill, project engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation, speaking before Glenwood Springs City Council last week.

That will include an opportunity for various stakeholders, including residents, local business owners and civic leaders, to share their thoughts on specific architectural-design details for the main Highway 82/Grand Avenue bridge and the new pedestrian bridge that are being planned.

The special issues task force and Stakeholders Working Group also will be taking a close look at some of the streetscape, pedestrian plaza and landscaping elements in the area between Sixth and Eighth streets that are associated with the bridge project, Gaskill said.

CDOT has scheduled a series of meetings and workshops to talk about the options and gather local preferences for the design elements.

Two workshops are planned for March 13 and April 10 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

Afternoon and evening sessions on those days will cover the same topics and will include an opportunity for resident participation, according to a CDOT statement.

In addition, the various stakeholder groups and project team members will have two work sessions with City Council to discuss the design details, on March 20 and April 10.

Other elements that will be discussed are the pedestrian bridge stairs and elevator access at Seventh Street that was endorsed by City Council recently.

Restrooms, retaining walls, a pedestrian underpass at the alley between Seventh and Eighth streets, landscaping and sidewalks on the north side the bridge, signing and any entryway features at the Interstate 70 exit interchange will be discussed also.

Council, at its Feb. 20 meeting, also appointed two of its members, Dave Sturges and Mike Gamba, to be part of the design-issues task force that will be meeting in advance of the March and April meetings.

Sturges reiterated his concern that the project’s planners make every effort to continue to include the general public in the design process and to explain that process.

“I’m concerned that you are changing the process,” he said of the new task force, which he said was not made known until now.

“Ultimately, the community needs to understand the process, and I would ask that you allow people to attend these meetings,” Sturges said. “We need the support of this community on this big of a project.”

The Grand Avenue Bridge replacement is being funded by the Colorado Bridge Enterprise fund, at an estimated cost of about $60 million.

Project planners have identified a new alignment for the bridge, extending from its current location at Grand Avenue south of the Colorado River and I-70, and curving to land at a reconfigured interchange and intersection at Sixth and Laurel streets.

That design is currently being evaluated as part of a formal Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for which a final design alternative, public comment period and record of decision are expected later this year.

Construction could begin as soon as next fall on the pedestrian bridge phase of the project, while work on the actual highway bridge would commence in 2015.

Updated designs and other information about the project can be found online at: http://www.coloradodot.info/projects/sh82grandavenuebridge/alternatives-development.html.

Anyone wanting to receive project updates can sign up for CDOT’s free message system, also at http://www.coloradodot.info, by clicking on green cell phone in the upper right hand side of the page and choosing “SH 82 Aspen to Glenwood” under Projects.

Anyone interested in attending one of the upcoming project stakeholder workshops should contact Susan Jacobs with CDOT, at (970) 384-3335.

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