Bijou bridge to look ‘finished’ at opening

       When the Bijou bridge opens Oct. 1 - as the schedule still states - it will look different from the other interchanges, off-ramps and bridges built during the 2 ˝-year COSMIX project.
       It will look finished.
       The other areas, including the Colorado Avenue bridge, will still need various types of “clean-up” work that could continue till the end of December. But at Bijou, all lighting, monuments, landscaping, pavers, signs, trails, drainage, etc. are to be in place, according to Kyle Troxel, spokesperson for project contractor Rockrimmon Constructors.
       “Bijou is the major arterial into Colorado Springs, so that's our exception,” he said. “We know a lot of businesses have suffered, so to keep them happy, we will speed that up.”
       The extra touches to be ready Oct. 1 include a small park with grass, trees and shrubs at the northwest corner where the southbound off-ramp comes up to Bijou, a parking lot set off by a styled wall at the southwest corner, a landscaped median in the block of Bijou between the interstate and Spruce, and historic accents on the bridge itself.
       Also becoming available when the bridge opens will be three of the four interchange ramps. The southbound off-ramp opened in mid-June - in large part to help the Bijou/Spruce commercial area - but “it didn't make a lot of sense” to open any others before the bridge itself was done, Troxel said.
       COSMIX is a $150 million I-25 widening project managed by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The Bijou and Colorado Avenue work will complete the three-laning of I-25 through the city.
       Troxel shared other COSMIX news in interviews this week and last:
  • Starting Sept. 1, I-25 is scheduled to get three lanes each way south to the Bijou bridge. The interstate has been reduced to two lanes between Bijou and Fontanero to allow the replacement of road panels.
  • Also Sept. 1, all-night closures of Colorado Avenue under I-25 Sunday through Thursday will be ending. These have been necessary to allow major construction on the freeway's widened bridge over Colorado Avenue.

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