Cimarron bridge plan: all at once

       Based on a consensus of Colorado Springs City Council Aug. 27, City Public Works will move forward in mid-October with a plan to shut down the deteriorating Cimarron Street bridge over Conejos Street and the railroad tracks, then start building a new one.
       The timing depends on completion of the new Bijou Street interchange at I-25 in early October, as pledged by Rockrimmon Constructors, the contractor on the COSMIX interstate-widening project. If so, the city anticipation is for a project that could be done by March.
       “Come back to us at the first October meeting,” Mayor Lionel Rivera instructed City Engineer Cam McNair. “Give us a presentation on how the the [detour] routes are going to work and what the signage is going to look like.”
       During the discussion, McNair told council he had “good news” - that the bridge could be built within the allowed budget. He based this report on the construction bids that have been submitted by private contractors. “We're still reviewing them,” he said. “We will bring the best value bid forward.”
       Afterward, Mary Scott of City Public Communications elaborated that a contractor will be selected “by Sept. 12 and will then conduct negotiations to finalize the cost and schedule.”
       The city has budgeted $8.5 million for the project, with $2 million already spent on the south demolition, design and other pre-construction activities, she said.
       Part of the council discussion involved ways to remind motorists about the business areas located near the closed bridge. “An extensive signage plan will be developed to assist impacted businesses throughout construction,” Scott said.
       The city began leaning toward the all-at-once plan in response to safety concerns - McNair expressed concern that the bridge deck might not make it through another winter of repeated freeze-thaw cycles - and findings that the work could be done faster (by six weeks) and cheaper (by $500,000) that way. Also, unofficial surveys in the last half of August had shown area business support for doing it all at once.
       McNair revealed a new safety concern at the Aug. 27 meeting. Photos from underneath indicated possible water seeping through the deck, “and that's not good,” he said.
       The previous replacement plan had been to build one side and then the other. A start on that strategy was made earlier this year when the bridge's south side was torn down, leaving the north to carry one lane of traffic each way.

Westside Pioneer article