Completion of the Adams Crossing bridge at Colorado Avenue and Columbia Road has been delayed because of last month’s severe weather and “issues in the field,” the new project manager for the Westside Avenue Action Plan said this week.
The bridge, which was scheduled to open at the end of September, “is not going to be open until October,” said El Paso County Engineer Brett Hartzell, who took over management of the project after former Project Manager Dennis Barron retired in late August.
Hartzell said he expected the bridge to be open sometime between mid-October and the end of the month.
“A lot of that depends on the weather,” Hartzell said. “If cold weather comes through early, it could affect the timing, but it’s not in the forecast now.”
Completion of the bridge will help smooth traffic, which has been impeded by lane closures for months.
Crews also are working below the bridge to install retaining walls and footers and to prepare for shifting of the creek.
Columbia Road is now open to traffic, which is also helping to ease traffic congestion.
“We plan to complete Columbia as quickly as possible,” Hartzell said. “Over the next week and a half, we plan to work on installing a rock wall on the west side.”
A stone wall next to the Garden of the Gods RV resort was demolished to make room for an additional lane to accommodate vehicles turning right onto Colorado Avenue.
Before he retired, Barron told the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority board of directors that the project’s $35.5 million budget is nearly $5 million short and that the project won’t be fully completed until late spring of 2019. The project’s timeline called for full completion by the end of this year. Most of the project’s funding is coming from the authority.
Hartzell said he couldn’t confirm the $5 million figure, because he is still getting cost estimates from the project’s designers, but he thinks the overrun “will be around that amount.”
The main reason for the increase is that the job is running longer than expected. The delay on the bridge, which was originally scheduled to open almost six months ago, has pushed back the entire project’s timeline.
Crews have encountered unexpected obstacles, including mislocated pipes and utilities and huge boulders. They also had to repair minor damage from recent severe storms.
Because of the delays, the county has had to extend design, construction management and contractors’ contracts. Increased traffic control costs also are a factor.
“We’re trying to see that businesses are not impacted more than they have to be and to lessen the impact on businesses,” Hartzell said. “We’re looking at ways to speed the project up, and we still expect the major items to be one before the end of the year. We’re taking steps to try to maximize work during the winter, bringing in large heaters to heat the asphalt and concrete surfaces so we can work even when it’s normally too cold to do it.”
Other than final paving of the street, items that have been pushed back into early 2019 won’t affect traffic as much, he said.
While the Adams Crossing area still is the major focus of construction, drainage and utility work is ramping up at Ridge Road and to the east.
The current timeline calls for the final items — finishing the sidewalks, putting in trees and seeding — to be finished in May.
“We know businesses would like us to have work wrapped up before next season,” Hartzell said. “If there is anything they think we can do better or in a different way, they should feel free to call us and let us know.”
The Westside Avenue project is a joint effort by Colorado Springs, El Paso County and Manitou Springs to revitalize the West Colorado-Manitou Avenue area known as No Man’s Land — a vital link between Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs. It is hoped that the improvements will set the stage for economic development and future corridor enhancements.
Concerns can be reported to the project team by calling the project hotline, 719-301-3801. Businesses can sign up for traffic advisories and construction impact notices by sending an email to Msprings@publicinfoteam.com.