COSMIX sets meeting on impending bridge work

       Details about COSMIX's downtown-area work and the new Cimarron bridge will be provided at a public open house Tuesday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
       Engineers from Rockrimmon Constructors (the COSMIX contractor) and the Colorado Depart-ment of Transportation (CDOT) will explain plans, present displays and take questions from the public on the second floor of the Clarion Hotel at 314 W. Bijou St. (just west of the I-25/Bijou interchange).
       Rockrimmon plans to replace the Bijou interchange, starting Jan. 2 with the old bridge's demolition. The company is already working on the interstate's Colorado Avenue and Midland Trail bridges south of Bijou and - under a separate contract with Colorado Springs - will tentatively start in December on the Cimarron Street/Highway 24 bridge just east of the interstate.
       The open house has no meeting agenda. “People are welcome to drop in anytime,” said Bill Badger of Rockrimmon Constructors.
       Details will be available on such issues as:
  • Traffic restrictions. The Bijou bridge will be the only full closure. The Cimarron bridge has been narrowed to two lanes since August, and trucks over 10,000 pounds are not allowed because of safety concerns. Also narrowed is Colorado Avenue under I-25. The normally four-lane street necks down to two lanes now, but the second eastbound lane will be restored in January.
  • The schedule. The Bijou bridge work is slated to continue through September 2007, as is the Colorado Avenue work. The new, wider south side of the Cimarron bridge is due for completion in June, which will allow a resumption of four-lane traffic while the north side's replacement work will continue until December.
  • Detour maps. Visitors can find out the best ways to go between the Near Westside and downtown during construction work.
  • Shuttle buses. The Bijou bridge is popular for pedestrians and bicyclists; to help them out, a shuttle bus will run between the small shopping center at Spruce Street and Bijou and the intersection of Cascade and Pikes Peak Avenue.
  • What the Bijou bridge will look like. There will be artist renderings, including a 3-D computer model that will allow views from different angles. The new bridge is also intended to look relatively stylish, chiefly resulting from input and funding inputs from downtown merchants.
  • Bijou's temporary I-25 southbound off-ramp. This ramp, located south of Bijou, is under construction now and due to open when the Bijou bridge closes. Traffic will get off at Pikes Peak Avenue and be routed to Walnut Street to Colorado Avenue, with a temporary stoplight at Walnut and more green time for Walnut traffic coming into Colorado Avenue.
  • Cimarron bridge plans. Two-lane traffic is to continue on the north side of the old bridge while the south side is being demolished and replaced.
           COSMIX is the nickname for the $150 million I-25 widening project encompassing 12 miles through central Colorado Springs.

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