Now slated for November reopening, Chestnut Street bridge project under way
Instead of the hoped-for October, the contractor, SEMA Construction, revealed a mid-November completion at a city-organized project open house at the Springs Journey Church in the Holland Park neighborhood April 12.
SEMA recently began work at the site, where Chestnut over Douglas Creek has been closed between Vondelpark Drive and Ellston Street since last August. That was when a sinkhole appeared in the pavement and rapidly spread across both lanes.
Drew Abbott and Eric Paine, representing SEMA at the open house, said the November date is an attempt to be conservative and the company will strive to get the work done sooner. The company is well known, working currently on seven projects in the region, including the Fillmore/I-25 interchange, Paine pointed out.
Pellegrino added that “most of the concern” at the meeting was about potential traffic conflicts with the simultaneous reconstruction project this summer on Centennial Boulevard between Garden of the Gods Road and Douglas Creek. Centennial is another major street for Holland Park and less than a mile away from Chestnut.
Pellegrino said he is coordinating with the Centennial project manager so that the work there will “not affect access to the Holland Park neighborhood
According to city engineers, the sinkhole culprit last August was a failing corrugated metal stormwater pipe that had carried the creek flow about 30 feet below the compacted dirt that holds up the street. Before the sinkhole, the pipe had been identified for replacement in 2019, but high waters from last spring's heavy rains, compounded by the Waldo Canyon burn scar, caused it to fail sooner, the city has said.
As SEMA gets started, it inherits an area that another city contractor excavated down to the creek last fall, removing the old creek pipe, installing a temporary one, aligning the slopes on either side and stabilizing them for the winter.
In place of a pipe, the project will install an arched, lighted concrete culvert, 36 feet wide and 10 feet high, which will include a 12-foot-wide trail. The culvert will easily handle a 100-year flood, city officials have said. During times of high water, the trail part of the culvert will be closed.
Currently, the Sinton Trail runs next to Douglas Creek west of Chestnut and uses the Ellston Street sidewalk east of it, with a street-level crossing at Chestnut and Ellston. When the project is done, people on the trail can still cross that way or go under Chestnut inside the culvert.
The trail will remain open during the work, but will be detoured slightly. According to the schedule, SEMA's initial work, continuing till early May, will involve temporarily relocating the trail away from the work area.
Next on the schedule after that will be construction of the culvert structure. That work is slated to continue from early May until just past mid-July.
Here are the other major work aspects (overlapping at times), as shown on the SEMA schedule:
- Retaining walls and utility work - late June to mid-October.
- Riprap and seeding - mid-August to early November.
- Chestnut paving - mid-October to early November.
- Project completion and demobilization - early to mid-November.
Westside Pioneer article