Expect delays: CDOT starts on $4.2 million Highway 34 bridge replacement near Grand Lake
Traffic delays are to be expected as the Colorado Department of Transportation digs into a bridge replacement project on Highway 34.
CDOT began work on the project April 1, with plans to replace the bridge that spans the Colorado River, just west of Shadow Mountain Lake, located roughly two-and-a-half miles south of the entrance to Grand Lake.
Tom Scheuermann, CDOT project engineer for the project, explained the new bridge would add roughly 17 feet of additional shoulder space, which would better accommodate bicycles and pedestrians. The existing bridge is roughly 30 feet from outside edges, while the new bridge will measure 47 feet.
Scheuermann noted that CDOT decided to prioritize replacement of the bridge due to concerns about the continued deterioration of the decades old structure.
“It is not an unsafe bridge,” Scheuermann said. “But it is at the end of its design life. It got pushed up on the list of bridges to address.”
The project will be conducted in multiple phases that will include the construction of a temporary bridge for traffic diversion, the demolition of the existing bridge, construction of a new permanent bridge and finally demolition of the temporary traffic diversion bridge.
The total cost of the contracted work for the project is $4,219,000, which does not include the value of work performed by CDOT employees on the project. Officials from CDOT are conducting oversight of the project while contractors are handling all construction and demolition work.
The bridge that is being replaced is formally called US 34 over North Fork of the Colorado River and was initially constructed in 1938.
Motorists should expect frequent transitions to single-lane traffic during construction. Work on the project will be conducted during the regular work week, Monday through Friday.
Traffic will be routed onto a temporary two-lane bridge with some single lane traffic control, according to CDOT.
Tracy Trulove, spokesperson for CDOT, said drivers should anticipate frequent single-lane traffic occurring from now until June. The road will see periodic single-lane closures during the summer tourism season from June through September. The road will once again see frequent single-lane traffic after September, according to CDOT.
To accommodate the significant influx of tourist traffic Grand County sees on primary holiday weekends, CDOT said it would not conduct single-lane closures during peak periods. There will be no lane closures in the project area during the week of the Fourth of July or from Friday through Tuesday on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
Speed limits throughout the construction zone have been reduced to 25 miles per hour as construction is ongoing.
Officials from CDOT said the project is slated for completion no later than Oct. 29.
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