SH 82 Grand Avenue Bridge
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Grand Avenue Bridge Environmental Assessment Overview
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are conducting an Environmental Assessment (EA) process to address functional, structural and safety deficiencies of the SH 82 Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs and to bring it up to current standards for a four-lane bridge.
HISTORY - The Grand Avenue Bridge EA began in April 2011 when CDOT worked with community representatives to form a Project Leadership Team (PLT) to guide the EA process and ensure that the project followed the principals of context sensitive solutions (CSS) and federal EA requirements. A consulting team was hired in August 2011 to support CDOT in identifying the project purpose and need and goals, and in developing and evaluating alternative solutions through the EA process. A Project Working Group (PWG) was formed to review and approve key technical evaluations and decisions. In keeping with CDOT’s commitment to a context sensitive approach to projects statewide, community stakeholders were actively involved in defining the context statement and critical success factors for the project in a two-day visioning workshop. They continued to play an integral role as the Stakeholder Working Group (SWG).
PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT - Over the last two years, the project team has evaluated the possibility of refurbishing the existing bridge, replacing the bridge in its current location, and replacing the bridge on different alignments. These options were considered in light of the criteria developed with the PLT, the PWG, the SWG and the public. Numerous public involvement and outreach activities have generated ideas, alternatives, alignments and other design elements that might never have been considered. To date, five public open houses and seven SWG meetings, including the initial visioning workshop, have been held. Participants helped shape the alternatives and recommendations to align more closely with community values. The result is a project that reflects the unique character, history and setting of the Grand Avenue Bridge over the Colorado River and I-70 in Glenwood Springs.
RECOMMENDED ALIGNMENT - The recommended bridge alignment takes vehicles from I-70 Exit 116 directly across the river into downtown Glenwood Springs and to destinations south on SH 82. 6th Street no longer carries SH 82 traffic, and a reconfigured intersection at 6th and Laurel maintains connections to the hotel areas and neighborhoods on the north side of the river. Coordination with the City of Glenwood Springs and the Downtown Development Authority has focused on opportunities to redevelop 6th Street and the area under the Grand Avenue Bridge south of 7th Street to a more pedestrian scale. The recommended alignment and how to best build it led to discussions about replacing the pedestrian bridge. The project team, in collaboration with the PLT, PWG, SWG, and the public, determined that a new pedestrian bridge improves the pedestrian and bicyclist connection across the river and provides opportunities for aesthetic treatments that reflect the historic character of Glenwood Springs. It also reduces overall project costs and improves construction phasing to minimize the duration of a full closure of SH 82 while reconstructing the highway bridge.
NEXT STEPS - The Environmental Assessment is currently being written, a process that takes several months to address the range of federal requirements and complete a multiagency review. At the same time, the project team continues to work with the PWG, SWG and the public to identify and explore design considerations for bridge types, aesthetics and multimodal connections in a preliminary design phase. CDOT hired a construction consultant that will work with the project team to refine alternatives to minimize construction impacts and develop a cost-effective design that meets the project objectives. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the recommended alternative in the EA at a public hearing. Final design on the project will not occur until a Decision Document on the EA is issued by FHWA.
FUNDING - The bridge is eligible for funding under the Colorado Bridge Enterprise (CBE) as a part Senate Bill 09-108, also known as FASTER (Funding Advancements for Surface Treatment and Economic Recovery). The purpose of the CBE is to complete designated bridge projects that involve the financing, repair, reconstruction and replacement of bridges designated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and rated “poor” by CDOT. CBE will primarily fund improvements to or replacement of the Grand Avenue Bridge and elements needed for the optimal function of the bridge.