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After 15 months of bridge repair, Chestnut Street finally reopens

Views of the Chestnut Street bridge project replacement project since July this year... ABOVE: A view south near Ellston Street (car at left) shows the final paving on the new Chestnut Street bridge at about 3:30 p.m. Nov. 12. The stretch of road was opened to traffic about an hour later. BELOW: All the underground work is buried, with ground nearly at road level. 2nd PHOTO DOWN: Early October, north from Vondelpark Drive - the culvert is nearly covered as dirt is compacted around it. In foreground is the culvert mouth and drainage-related concrete walls. 3rd PHOTO DOWN: Early September, north from Vondelpark, about two weeks after the culvert arch sections were placed, SEMA crews seal it with a waterproof membrane. 4th PHOTO DOWN: Aug. 25, midway through the placement of 28 arches for the culvert. 5th PHOTO DOWN: Work in mid-July, looking east along the temporarily diverted Douglas Creek channel. BOTTOM: Aug. 11, 2015, a day after the initial closure, when the pavement in the northbound lane gave way.
Westside Pioneer photos
UPDATE, Nov. 12 - After 15 months, Chestnut Street between Ellston Street and Vondelpark Drive reopened to traffic around 5 p.m. (three hours before the city-predicted time from earlier in the week) after paving and striping were completed during the afternoon.
       The article below is the same as the one published before the opening, but with a chronological series of photos.

       As early as Saturday night, Nov. 12 - or a few days thereafter, depending on weather or engineering issues - vehicles will be motoring back and forth on Chestnut Street between Vondelpark Drive and Ellston Street, just like nothing
ever happened.
       It won't even look like a bridge. For new motorists and those with short memories, it will be just another stretch of road.
       But for most of the past year, the roughly one-eighth mile between Vondelpark and Ellston has been a closed-off flurry of construction activity, notably marked by a pit in the ground some 30 feet deep and 100 feet across.
       Regular visitors would have seen, looking down, extensive, mostly drainage- related concrete work and the section-by-section construction in late August this year
of a 140-foot-long arched-concrete culvert to handle the flow of South Douglas Creek and (next to it) the Sinton Trail. Brought in by trucks, each of the 28 culvert segments is 36 feet long and weighs 27½ tons.
       According to Alex Pellegrino, the city's Chestnut project engineer, Nov. 12 at about 8 p.m. is the goal to have the two-lane roadway painted and striped. Even if that goal is achieved, work will still be required at least through the end of November to finish building the sidewalks,
adding landscaping and cleaning up around the site, he clarified.
       Pellegrino noted that he's well aware of the problems caused for drivers, as well as nonmotorized traffic, by the closure. “I hope citizens see how hard we've been working to get it open,” he said.
       The culvert replaces a former eight-foot-wide corrugated-metal pipe that once carried the creek flow under Chestnut. Its failure in August 2015 forced the road's closure between Vondelpark and Ellston
and triggered a $3.5 million emergency effort by city engineers - first to dig down and remove the old pipe, then to design its replacement and lastly to hire a contractor last April (SEMA Construction) to put it in so the road could be reopened.
       The old pipe's problems had been known, with money set aside from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority to replace it in 2019, but city engineers had not expected it to collapse four years early.
       During the project, to avert flooding and construction conflicts, the creek flow
was diverted around the project area through a rubber pipe. Also, some utilities that had to be disconnected and temporarily rerouted have now been restored back under the roadway.
       Through September and October, SEMA crews compacted tons of dirt around the culvert and roughly 30 feet above it to bring the grade even with the Chestnut roadway on either side. This is how the “bridge” had been built previously. City engineers believe this was and is an effective
design - especially now, with the concrete culvert; also it costs about 25 percent less than a traditional single-span bridge.
       As a safeguard against future settling, a third-party geotechnical engineer continually tested the compaction integrity, according to Pellegrino.
       By early November, the pit was completely filled in and the grade was at street level, with reconnected utilities also laid in below the surface. The only work remaining was the above-described efforts to create the roadbed, pave it and open it again to traffic.
       What won't be open soon is the Sinton Trail through the culvert. A delay of several months is foreseen, because funding is still needed to pave the trail as it goes to the culvert on either side, according to Chris Lieber of City Parks. For the time being, trail users must cross Chestnut Street at grade, as they did before.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 11/12/16; Transportation: Major Roads)

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