The city of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, received a $49.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to build a bridge evacuation route in response to wildfires in recent years. Glenwood Springs is located 157 miles west of Denver.
The money comes from the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (Rural), a $645 million USDOT initiative. The program prioritizes quality-of-life improvements in rural areas by supporting road, bridge and other infrastructure projects that enhance passenger and freight mobility and safety. Rural roads experience an inordinately high fatality rate, according to USDOT.
Glenwood Springs will use the funds to build a bridge across the Roaring Fork River, providing a second paved route connecting residents with State Highway 82’s southern corridor. Currently, there is only one paved road to the corridor, creating a traffic bottleneck during emergencies.
The city will build a second paved evacuation route to the south corridor, providing an alternative road to connect neighborhoods with SH82, support traffic flow and improve emergency service access during disasters. The project will also improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure along the corridor. The bridge will also allow the city to expand Ride Glenwood – the city’s transit service – between SH82 and a mobile home park. As part of the project, the city will integrate water looping facilities to improve emergency water supply access. These systems will support firefighter disaster response during wildfire scenarios.
The Glenwood Springs South Bridge project is one of 18 projects selected by the Rural program for FY 2023 through FY 2024. The program will invest $2 billion in projects through 2026.
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