Bad news on bridge
Cimarron to stay 2 lanes for another year, after deal falls through with Rockrimmon Constructors

       The soonest that four lanes will be restored on the Cimarron Street bridge east of I-25 is spring 2008.
       City Engineer Cam McNair delivered the bad news to Colorado Springs City Council at the Feb. 27 meeting. “I know it's a hard pill to swallow,” he said. “We're frustrated on staff. But it's a fact of where we are.”
       The city had once predicted the the south half of the bridge would reopen this summer, under a best-case scenario in which the work was to have been done by the contractor that is already in the area on the COSMIX I-25 project.
       However, the city could not negotiate an affordable price with that contractor, Rockrimmon Constructors, McNair told council. As a result, “we are going to have to finish the design with a city contract through an engineering company and then bid out the construction.”
       The city budgeted $8 million for the bridge replacement project. To date, about $2 million of that has been spent on emergency repairs, surveying and preliminary design, the contracted demolition of the south half, relocation of railroad communication lines, and other anticipated costs for utilities, right-of-way and project management, according to a city press release. This leaves $6 million for design and construction.
       In a follow-up interview, McNair elaborated there was a “fairly significant difference” between the $6 million and Rockrimmon Constructors' offer. “We were more than $1 million apart,” he said.
       He added, however, that he is confident that the city can get more economical bids because it is not constrained by certain cost-hiking requirements that are in place on federal contracts such as COSMIX.
       Demolition work on the south half of the Cimarron Bridge (under a separate contract with Rockrimmon) has begun and will continue for several weeks.
       The bridge, which spans Conejos Street and the railroad tracks, will continue to be open to two lanes of traffic (except trucks over five tons) on the north side, as it has been since safety problems forced the closure of the south side last August.
       Engineering is hoping to have the design completed by late summer, with construction on the south half starting first. When that segment is open - plans now call for spring 2008 - it will be temporarily painted to allow four lanes of traffic, McNair said. The north half is to be completed by fall 2008.
       A more detailed replacement schedule will be determined once the design is finalized and a construction contractor has been selected, according to the city release.
       McNair said there were no hard feelings with Rockrimmon Constructors, which “has been very helpful to the city by getting the preliminary design accomplished [under another contract with the city], and by integrating the demolition of the south side of the Cimarron Bridge into the demolition schedule of the Bijou bridges,” he said.
       The bridge replacement is being funded by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.

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