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Now slated for November reopening, Chestnut Street bridge project under way

In a view looking north up Chestnut Street, a worker with SEMA Construction walks down a temporarily stabilized slope that was created by another city contractor last fall. SEMA has contracted with the city to install a large culvert to carry the Douglas Creek flow (currently in a temporary pipe below the swale) and fill in the 30 feet above it to allow Chestnut to reopen between Vondelpark Drive and Ellston Street. At far left is a shopping cart that somehow found its way into the swale.
Westside Pioneer photo
A schedule has been established for the $2.9 million Chestnut Street bridge replacement project, showing a slightly later reopening than previously estimated by city engineers.
       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.
A rendering provided for City Engineering shows a view of the planned arched culvert for the new Chestnut Street bridge. The view is from the creek channel, looking east.
Courtesy of City Engineering
Asked about public feedback from the open house, Alex Pellegrino, the project manager for City Engineering, said afterward that “overall, people are just excited to get the road back open. Also, routing the Sinton Trail under the bridge seems to get a lot of support.” (A graphic on this page shows what that will look like.)
       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
Attendees look at displays with the help of city engineers, consultants and contractor SEMA Construction during the April 12 open house for the Chestnut bridge replacement project. The location is the Springs Journey Church. The view is from the second floor landing.
Westside Pioneer photo
during the duration of the Chestnut bridge replacement project.”
       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
(Posted 4/17/16; Transportation: Major Roads)

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