Pedestrian bridge still suspended

Glenn Wallace
Posted

A proposed pedestrian bridge to span 6th Avenue near the terminus of the West Rail Line of FasTracks has yet to gain final approval. The delays to approval have ensured that the bridge will not be finished in time to greet the first passengers off of the West Line.

City of Golden representatives had hoped for the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners and representatives approval at a Jan. 22 staff briefing meeting. Instead, delayed paperwork from the Colorado Department of Transportation and procedural concerns raised by Jeffco District 3 Commissioner Donald Rosier left the future of the project uncertain.

Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan came before the commissioners, and spoke briefly about the advantages the pedestrian bridge would bestow “to Golden residents, and especially for employees of the Jefferson County Center.”

“It would be highly desirable that we get the pedestrian bridge open as close we can to the opening of the West Light Rail Line,” Sloan said.

The project is expected to take at least six months to complete, following county approval. The West Rail Line is scheduled to open to the public in April.

That approval has yet to come. Golden’s Community and Economic Development Director Steve Glueck said that the specific approval forms that the county had requested at a meeting last fall had yet to come in, thanks to a delay with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Beyond the missing paperwork, Rosier said he had other issues with the pedestrian bridge plan — it is not listed in RTD’s West Rail Line’s most recent environmental assessment (EA).

“Now they’re saying they’re cutting it from the EA, but they’ll still fund it?” Rosier asked.

“Yes,” Glueck said, explaining that it was cut from RTD’s construction plans as a cost-saving measure. Since they were no longer building it as part of the overall rail line project, it was removed from the plans, though earlier environmental studies did study the potential of a bridge there.

Golden took up the effort to build the bridge, securing $300,000 of its own money, along with $1.97 million in RTD and federal transportation funds. The county would only need to grant a land easement and maintain landscaping on one side of the bridge.

Rosier said he would need confirmation that a new environmental assessment would not be required to build the bridge.

Within two days, Glueck reported to Golden City Council that he had the long-awaited CDOT documents in hand, and also had verbal confirmation federal transit authorities that reopening the EA would not be necessary. He said it would be some time in February before he could return to the county commissioners to again ask for approval.