COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Drivers should prepare for significant traffic impacts when a $14 million project begins in September.
A pair of adjacent 70-year-old bridges on Platte Avenue in east Colorado Springs will be replaced by a single bridge to provide better safety and more options for cyclists, pedestrians and the disabled.
The bridges, carrying two lanes of traffic in both directions, cross Sand Creek just west of Powers Boulevard.
"The Colorado Department of Transportation built those bridges in the 1950s when Platte Avenue was part of U.S. 24," said Aaron Egbert, a senior city engineer. "We acquired them in the mid-1990s as part of a swap to relocate U.S. 24 to Fountain Boulevard and the MLK bypass."
Egbert said the bridges are steadily deteriorating.
"The bridges have had condition issues, primarily with the deck," he said. "So we're having some challenges with the deterioration of concrete. We've invested a lot of maintenance dollars in the past. Stormwater has also invested a lot of funds on Sand Creek down below us to stabilize the bridges."
Traffic along Platte through the construction zone will be reduced to one lane in each direction during the project.
"It's not going to be fun," said Aaron Caraveo, a neighbor. "There's only one way to get to my neighborhood from the highway here. Traffic is heavy enough as it is, to try and turn off the highway. That project is just going to make everything worse."
The project does bring benefits, however. The new bridge will have sidewalks on both sides -- which currently don't exist -- as well as an extension of the Sand Creek Trail under the bridge and a wider pavement to allow for adding third lanes of traffic in the future.
"I love the fact that it's going to have sidewalks, and access for other than cars, other than vehicles," said Karen Teal, who drives through the area. It's going to be built up better. I think 18 months is not that much to ask."
The project includes placing traffic signals at the nearby intersection of Platte and Space Center Drive.
A combination of local and federal funds will finance the project