New slant on COSMIX with bridge 8 feet higher

       Take your last look at Bijou Street as a flat stretch of pavement between Spruce and I-25. Starting next week, COSMIX crews are scheduled to start rebuilding the 300 block to make it slope up to meet the new Bijou bridge, which will be eight feet higher than it was before.
       The rebuild work, initially involving underground electrical, storm and sewer lines, will force the closure of the block until at least early June, according to Bill Badger of Rockrimmon Constructors, the COSMIX contractor.
       In the meantime, diners at Denny's on the south side of the street will be detoured down the alley behind the restaurant, and clients of the Clarion Hotel on the north side can enter from a driveway on Spruce Street, he said. All the private driveways in that block of Bijou will have to be raised because of the new street slope, with the biggest change at the Denny's driveway - which will be five feet higher than at present - and parking lot, Badger said.
       Signs will be put up to let the public know about the detours, he added.
       The increased bridge height was necessary for two reasons, he explained. One was the need to end a situation under the bridge in which there had been a low point (actually below the level of Monument Creek). A pumphouse, intended to remove the extra water, had been shorting out in wet weather, allowing the formation of pools of water (irreverently known as “Lake Bijou”). Eliminating the low point forced the interstate road surface to be raised about eight feet, which meant the bridge needed to go up the same amount.
       The second reason for raising the bridge is that railroad safety standards, updated since the recently demolished bridge section over the tracks was erected in 1935, now call for bridges to be about eight feet higher than they were back in those days. In other COSMIX news…
  • The new northbound lanes under the new Bijou bridge are now in use. Both northbound and southbound traffic (two lanes each way) will continue using them until early fall, the schedule shows. Meanwhile, COSMIX crews are adding girders to the bridge and starting work on the new southbound off- and on-ramps. The entire bridge project is due for completion in October.
  • Demolition of the south half of the Cimarron bridge, which was an add-on project for COSMIX, is to be completed by this weekend. The goal is to at least have Conejos Street (below the bridge) open again for church traffic on Easter, Badger said.
  • Temporary signs are being installed at the base of the temporary Pikes Peak Avenue southbound off-ramp to let drivers know about the Bijou Street business area two blocks to the north, Badger said. Merchants have complained about business being off by about a third in that area, which is cut off from the regular business flow by the bridge closure. Permanent signs are slated to go in next week, he said.

    Westside Pioneer article