In an effort to accelerate the Moraine Avenue bridge replacement project and reopen that section of U.S. 36 by Memorial Day weekend, the Town of Estes Park requested and received additional funds from the Colorado Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. An additional $191,000 will allow modifications to the work schedule to help make up time lost during work by gas and communications utilities. The goal is to complete substantial work and reopen Moraine Avenue by May 25, with minor work continuing into June.
Public Works Director Greg Muhonen commented, “Understanding the inconvenience this flood mitigation project has caused, the Town has taken many measures to reduce the construction impacts to businesses and residents. So, it was particularly disappointing to fall behind schedule in October during gas and communications utility work. We are appreciative of this additional state funding to speed up key tasks and, weather permitting, in order to have the road reopened by May 25.” The funding will pay for extra construction crew overtime, a second diversion of the river to accelerate wingwall excavation and concrete placement, and alternative methods to expedite the backfilling of the new bridge excavations.
The Town and project partners are on schedule for the full closure of Elkhorn Avenue at Moraine Avenue April 8 (evening) through April 30. The closure will allow critical upgrades to aging underground utility infrastructure between the ongoing Moraine Avenue bridge project and Cleave Street on Big Horn Drive. Sidewalks will remain open during the intersection closure, with crosswalks and signage to help pedestrians navigate. Traffic will be detoured at Riverside Drive, Weist Drive and Cleave Street, but access for deliveries will be maintained. A map of the closure plan is available at http://www.estes.org/moraineavenuebridge.
Town Administrator Frank Lancaster commented, “We sincerely appreciate the patience of businesses, residents and guests. While we wish we could spare everyone from the disruption, closure of this section of Elkhorn Avenue is the only way we can replace extremely old, failing water lines, storm drainage pipes and sanitary sewer pipes.” He continued, “We experienced three major water leaks on Elkhorn Avenue in the height of summer in 2017, and Estes Park Sanitation has had two emergency repairs in Elkhorn in the last decade. We need to take opportunities like this to reduce emergency repairs, which are more inconvenient and damaging to businesses and the rest of our community.”
Director Muhonen expressed appreciation to the State for an additional $104,000 granted to replace failing storm water drains discovered after the project began last fall. He commented, “In addition to all the other utility upgrades that have been possible with this project, the storm drainage replacement is of critical importance and will help protect our downtown during future rain events.”
A major step toward flood mitigation and resilience in the downtown area, the Moraine Avenue Bridge replacement is another example of a major endeavor planned during the winter season in an effort to reduce impacts to the community as much as possible. This project is funded through a $2 million Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs through the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Visit http://www.estes.org/moraineavenuebridge for project updates. For more information, contact project manager Michael Todd with Cornerstone Engineering at 970-586-2458 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the intersection closure and logistics, contact Flood Recovery Project Associate Christy Crosser at email@example.com or 970-577-3574.