City hires contractor for Cimarron-Conejos bridge

       Lawrence Construction of Littleton will be the prime contractor for the Cimarron bridge replacement.
       A contract for $5,897,537 was approved by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) board at its meeting Sept. 12.
       A start date has not been specified - the often-elusive Union Pacific and Burlington-Northern railroads still need to be contacted - but the goal, based on a Colorado Springs City Council consensus this month, is to start work by Oct. 15.
       The ailing 49-year-old span will be closed at that time, with a new bridge and four lanes to be ready for use by April or mid-May, depending on the actual start date, according to Mary Scott of City Public Communications.
       After that, Lawrence crews will still have some finish-up work, including the completion of acceleration/ deceleration lanes, she said.
       The bridge was built over Conejos Street and the railroad tracks as part of the original I-25 project in 1958. The amount of the accepted bid is just below the $6 million that remained in the city/RTA budget for the project.
       A total of $2 million had previously been spent to demolish the south half of the old bridge, create plans for the new one and cover miscellaneous costs in the 13 months since failed bridge decking limited the bridge to just two-way traffic on the north half. The project comes on the heels of nearly a year of east-west traffic constraints, chiefly related to the Bijou bridge being closed while its replacement was being built as part of the COSMIX I-25 widening project. The new Bijou bridge is set to open Oct. 1. City Council did not want to shut down Cimarron until that occurred.
       There remains a concern about new traffic impacts to businesses near the interstate, resulting from the Cimarron shutdown. In response, city officials have been working with local business organizations - including the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group - to develop a plan to help motorists find business areas that the construction might turn into temporary backwaters. Scott said the plan will go before council at its Oct. 8 meeting.
       Lawrence is a family-owned firm with “over 8 decades of innovation and experience in heavy-highway bridge and roadway construction in Colorado,” according to the company website.

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