April planned for 8th Street traffic, pedestrian upgrades

       The planned pedestrian bridge over Fountain Creek at Eighth Street is now tentatively scheduled for installation in April.
       The work will be in conjunction with a widening of Eighth Street to create missing sidewalk and lengthen the northbound right- turn lane onto Highway 24/Cimarron Street, according to Bob Kenny, senior engineer for Colorado Springs Traffic.
       The bridge portion will be funded by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA), while the turn lane/ sidewalk work will be paid with federal Hazard Elimination and Intersection Safety (HES) money.
       Plans last summer had suggested the work might be complete by the end of this year, but delays have resulted as engineers worked through issues with the state (which dispenses the federal funds) and sought ways to save on the bridge costs, according to Bob Kenny, city senior traffic engineer.
       Although disappointed at the delays, he said he thinks the extra time will improve the project, in terms of efficiency and cost. Initially, the bridge and sidewalk (funded by the RTA) were to go in separately from the turn-lane (HES-funded) im-provements. The efficiency will result from there being just one contractor for the whole project, (except for the placement of the bridge abutments).
       A cost savings is anticipated from the planned redesign of the 120-foot -long, 6-foot-wide pedestrian bridge. It had been priced at $59,000, which Kenny termed a real surprise. Now, he said, the bridge-design consulting firm has been asked to rework the plan, making it just as sturdy, but simpler and less costly.
       The bridge has already been ordered, with the OK of the RTA board. The board will also need to approve the final plan, Kenny said.
       According to HES plans, the northbound right-turn lane lengthening is needed to keep traffic from backing up. That work had been planned first, but while field-reviewing the site, engineers noticed the lack of a sidewalk along the east side of Eighth Street, basically from the Auto Zone store nearly to Cimarron Street/Highway 24, and proposed adding that improvement as an RTA maintenance project. North of the bridge, a retaining wall will be built between the street and the hotel parking lot, to create space for the sidewalk.

Westside Pioneer article