Bijou bridge sure to open Oct. 1, but...

       As the opening date looms for the new Bijou/I-25 interchange, Rockrimmon Constructors is lowering expectations for the initial experience.
       The bridge will open Oct. 1; that much has not changed. Rockrimmon spokesperson Kyle Troxel emphasized that the COSMIX contractor faces “severe daily fines” if it fails to meet that deadline, under its contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). “They want to make sure they get that open,” he said.
       However, the Bijou bridge that people see isn't likely to look as “finished” as Rockrimmon had once hoped it would be on opening day (Westside Pioneer, Aug. 23). Because work has not proceeded as quickly as anticipated, landscaping and other niceties will likely have to be wrapped up in the weeks that follow, Troxel said.
       There is not even a guarantee that all the lanes on the bridge will be open Oct. 1. He noted that the contract with CDOT requires only “head-to-head traffic” by that date, not specifying the number of lanes. The contract does specify, however, that all four ramps must be open on that date.
       No matter how far along the non-contractual work is, plans are being made for an opening celebration Oct. 1. There will be speeches and a “formal event” on the bridge, followed by activities in Acacia Park downtown, Troxel said.
       The schedule shortfall is not from lack of effort. Much of the COSMIX manpower in the area has been moved to Bijou, he pointed out. “The Bijou bridge is our focus,” he said.
       One consequence of this personnel shift will be a delay in the Colorado Avenue bridge completion. Once slated for Oct. 1, like the Bijou bridge, its target date is now mid-November.
       That means the avenue, where it goes under the interstate, will probably retain its three-lane configuration (two eastbound, one westbound) into November. Also, the avenue/I-25 Sunday-to-Thursday overnight closures, which COSMIX had said would end after August, “could continue into October,” Troxel said.
       With the Cimarron bridge tentatively slated for closure in mid-October (the city/Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority is to build its replacement this winter), Troxel couldn't predict how east-west traffic might be impacted, in the face of the continuing COSMIX work on Colorado. The Bijou bridge opening will definitely help people get downtown, he said, but wasn't sure about what Colorado Avenue westbound might be like.
       All COSMIX work is scheduled to be done by Dec. 31. The $150 million project is completing the widening of I-25 to six lanes through the city.

Westside Pioneer article