Downtown Glenwood traffic impacts have begun | VailDaily.com

Downtown Glenwood traffic impacts have begun

John Stroud
jstroud@postindependent.com

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The next round of impacts associated with Grand Avenue bridge construction hit this week and will last several months at one critical downtown traffic intersection.

Starting this week, the southbound left turn lane coming off of the bridge onto Eighth Street will be closed at least through spring 2017 and possibly longer, according to bridge project officials.

That means motorists headed toward points east of Grand will have to proceed to Ninth or 10th streets to turn left. Access onto Grand from east and westbound Eighth will still be allowed.

The turn-lane closure is necessary as work begins on the 189-foot-long structural walls that will run from north to south in the 700 block of Grand. The walls will be part of the new bridge support as it lands near the Eighth Street intersection, and provide aesthetics for the downtown area.

"The bridge will come in slightly higher than the old bridge and land closer to Eighth Street, so in order to build the walls we will need to have some work space on either side," explained Tom Newland, project public information manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

To create that space, the four lanes on Grand/Colorado 82 will be restriped and the turn lane eliminated for the time being.

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Two lanes of traffic will be maintained in both directions going across the bridge during peak travel times. However, periodic one-lane closures will be needed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for construction access.

While downtown business owners had asked to delay the work until after the Christmas holiday season, Newland said it's important to keep the project schedule on track in order to be ready for the planned Aug. 14, 2017, bridge closure and 95-day detour period so the final segment of the bridge can be built and opened by the end of next year.

"If we start any later, we just don't know what the winter weather is going to bring, so we want to start when we know we will have adequate time to reach that Aug. 14 date," Newland said. "That 95 days is really tight, and we are trying to do as much construction outside of that time frame as possible."