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UPDATE: Traffic switching from old Cimarron/I-25 bridge; allows Nov. 4-7 demolition

       Editor"s note: The article below, which originally reported traffic-realignment details as announced by the Cimarron/I-25 project team Oct. 19, has been updated Oct. 21 with that information removed because of changes in those details. Rather than risk misinforming motorists, as additional changes could occur without notice, the article now simply summarizes the realignment activities within the basic time frame leading up to the bridge-demolition weekend of Nov. 4-7.

       For several weeks, the project team for the new Cimarron/I-25 interchange has been predicting that sometime in October traffic would be switched from the old bridge to allow its demolition.
       That time has come, starting with traffic-alignment switches leading up to the demolition itself the weekend of Friday, Nov. 4 (starting
During the mid-September concrete pour for the 80-foot-wide first "half" of the new Cimarron/I-25 bridge, a worker smooths concrete at its east edge. The new bridge is just to the west of the northbound and southbound lanes on the existing Cimarron/I-25 bridge (background), which will be demolished Nov. 4-7 to allow construction of the other lengthwise "half" of the new bridge.
Westside Pioneer photo
at 9 p.m.) through Monday, Nov. 7 (ending at 5 a.m.)
       The alignment information had been explained in previous press releases from the contractor, Kraemer North America, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The demolition details were revealed at a press conference Oct. 19.
       Michael Ingram, senior project manager for Kraemer, said the Nov. 4-7 tear- down should take 36 hours in all and will happen no matter what the weather is.
       Heavy equipment - excavators with huge hydraulic hammers - will be used to knock down the old span. "We're enlisting our operators from all over
Michael Ingram, senior project manager for Kraemer North America, the Cimarron/I-25 contractor, is shown at the worksite in a photo taken earlier this year.
Westside Pioneer file photo
the region," Ingram said. "It will be quite a show." He added that, "other than starting and finishing, this is the biggest milestone in the project."
       According CDOT Resident Engineer Dave Watt, it makes more sense, from an engineering and traffic standpoint, to take down the old bridge (built in 1959 and added onto at a later date) over a single weekend, rather than stretch the work out over time and risk problems with the stability of partially destroyed structures.
       No interstate traffic will be affected by the demolition, but Cimarron Street (which goes underneath) will be closed both ways while it's going on, and both northbound ramps will be shut off as well, he said. Detours will be marked for people attending the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Colorado Springs Nov. 5, Watt added.
       The outcome of the realignment and the demolition will be that for several months to come, both southbound and northbound vehicles will be shifted to a temporary alignment, with narrower-than-normal lanes and shoulders, in which both directions share the lengthwise, 80-foot-wide bridge “half” that Kraemer completed in September just west of the old bridge.
       The demolition will leave room for Kraemer crews to build the remaining “half” of the new bridge (71 feet in width). The joined span will open to both directions of traffic later in 2017, according to plans.
       The Kraemer/CDOT bridge-replacement strategy - building the new one just west of the old one - has allowed the interstate to remain open to three lanes each way throughout the project, with the general exception of overnight work. Part of that endeavor has included building new traffic lanes, also a short distance to the west, for about a half-mile south of the Cimarron interchange, that will line up with the new bridge and also improve the original I-25 curve between there and Tejon.
       The overall, $113 million project started in the summer of 2015 and is due for completion in December 2017.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 10/18/16, updated 10/21/16; Transportation: Cimarron/I-25)

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