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Hole in bridge closes Chestnut Street - $500K approved to start repair effort; interim drainage-control work begins

In a view looking north from a hill off Vondelpark Drive and Chestnut Street, this was the scene at the Chestnut bridge over Douglas Creek the afternoon of Aug. 14, as a city contractor dug away the last of the pavement that had developed a steadily gaping hole since Aug. 10. A fence was also being erected around the site for safety reasons. Cars were (and are) being detoured around the site. I-25 can be seen beyond the sound wall in the background.
Westside Pioneer photo
Another view of the work Aug. 14, shot over the just-built temporary fence, shows a fuller shot of the scene where the compromised pavement has been dug out. An eventual result - once technical plans are engineered - will be the replacement of a failing corrugated metal storm pipe carrying Douglas Creek drainage under the street roughly 30 feet below.
Westside Pioneer photo
The hole in the Chestnut Street bridge extended across both traffic lanes the afternoon of Aug. 13. Compare with the photo below, taken two days earlier.
Westside Pioneer photo
Cole Platt (left) and David Scalfri of the Colorado Springs Street Division, take a wide berth Aug. 11 in walking around a large hole in the asphalt on the Chestnut Street traffic bridge (northbound lane) over the Douglas Creek drainageway. Chestnut was closed in both directions, including sidewalks, Aug. 10 and will remain that way indefinitely.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Update, Aug. 14: The work described in the Aug. 13 update below got started. Photos and cutlines above describe where things stand.
       According to city bridge specialist Aaron Egbert, "we have a small path for the water to go and we will be cleaning up the slopes next week. Century Link and Comcast are working hard to support their infrastructure in the area."
       Chestnut Street remains closed indefinitely between Vondelepark Drive and Ellston Street. "Pedestrians and cyclists are required to use Vondelepark Drive and Holland Park Boulevard as detours," a city press release states. "Vehicles may use Mark Dabling Boulevard, Sinton Road and Centennial Boulevard as alternative north/south routes."

       Update, Aug. 13: With the Chestnut Street hole continuing to expand, the city has hired a contractor to peel back the asphalt even farther Aug. 14, with the goal of keeping drainage from accumulating on the bridge.
       Aaron Egbert, a bridge specialist for City Engineering, said that Schanel Construction, an on-call bridge maintenance contractor for the city, "will open it up to get the water to flow more smoothly, It looks like a lot of it [the pavement] will be coming off."
       The contractor will also erect a temporary fence around the site; too many "tourists" are disobeying the road-closed signs, the engineer said.
       As of the afternoon of Aug. 13, the hole had extended across both traffic lanes (compare the photo at the top of this page with the one below it, taken Aug. 11). Egbert said that the hole would probably continue to grow in size, if no work was done, especially should more rains come down.
       Regarding a long-term fix, a city press release Aug. 13 states, "The city has hired HDR Inc.under its existing on-call contract to develop conceptual designs of proposed replacement options. The scope of work, new structure type and reopening schedule are yet to be determined."
       The hole first appeared Aug. 10 (see initial article below). Chestnut remains closed both ways between Vondelpark and Ellston.
       Related to the problem, as a precaution, Springs Utilities has temporarily closed off its wastewater line going
A closer shot of the pavement hole in the northbound lane of Chestnut Street Aug. 11 also shows the utility lines that run below the street surface, as well as the undercutting of the sidewalk at right.
Cole Platt photo - special to the Westside Pioneer
under the bridge. Egbert said that for now the city-owned enterprise is directing the pipe's sewage into a manhole, which Utilities is pumping into trucks at about 10-hour intervals. The trucks are taking the sewage to the wastewater plant, he said.

       Update, Aug. 12: The Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) board approved a $500,000 allocation to begin design work for repairs on the Chestnut Street bridge hole described in the initial article below.
       Mike Chaves of City Engineering said the money comes from the $1.8 million approved by voters in 2012 to replace the failing, undersized (at 8-foot-diameter) storm drain that carries Douglas Creek flows under the bridge.
       An RTA A-list item, the pipe-replacement project had been scheduled for 2019, but because of the hole, which appeared after heavy rains Aug. 10, "it moved up the list," Chaves said. Photos that Engineering presented to the board included one showing that the existing pipe has partially collapsed.
       He had no prediction for how long the project will take, nor how long the road will need to remain closed in both directions.

       Initial story, Aug. 11: A large sinkhole that appeared last spring on Centennial Boulevard near Albertson's closed a traffic lane and took several days for the City Street Division to refill and repave.
       An even bigger pavement hole, which appeared suddenly in the northbound traffic lane of Chestnut Street Aug. 10, apparently will take a good deal longer to fix, according to Cole Platt of the City Street Division.
       In the meantime, Chestnut is closed in both directions
City workers stand near the low side of the storm drain that carries Douglas Creek water under Chestnut Street. The bridge (not visible from this angle) is located above them, at the top of the photo.
Courtesy of City Engineering
between Ellston Street and Vondelpark Drive. The street is even closed to pedestrians because of stability concerns. And Platt and David Scalfri, also of City Streets, took care to keep at least 15 feet away from the hole in observing the situation Aug. 11.
       One big difference from last spring's sinkhole is that this one is on a bridge. As a result, the actual depth is at least 30 feet - the distance between the road surface and the Douglas Creek drainageway below, Platt explained.
       The hole takes up the entire northbound traffic lane. Space is also evident under the guard rail and the sidewalk next to that lane, on the east side of the bridge.
       Chestnut is a busy frontage road west of I-25 connecting Fillmore Street and Garden of the Gods Road. West of Chestnut, there is no other such street until Centennial, well over a half-mile to the west.
       As of Aug. 11, the city had not begun repairs. Engineers with the city and Colorado Springs Utilities are still determining what actually caused the hole. Possibilities include the heavy rains this year - including the afternoon of Aug. 10 - and an aging, stormwater pipe in the drainage, Platt explained.
       No accidents or injuries resulted from the hole's appearance. Platt said that an off-duty Springs Utilities worker noticed Aug. 10 that it seemed to be sagging as another vehicle drove over it. As a precaution, he got traffic cones from a local landscaping business to temporarily block it off, and shortly thereafter, the above-described part of the street gave way.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/11/15, updated 8/13/15; Transportation: Major Roads)

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