Rural Transportation Grant awarded to fund South Bridge construction.
Today the City of Glenwood Springs proudly announces a federal grant award to contribute to funding the over 20-year-long effort to complete the South Bridge wildfire egress project. The Rural Surface Transportation Grant will provide $49 million for the cost of the project. The bridge will provide critical egress and escape for over 4,000 residents in the event of a wildfire. This area has seen numerous small wildfires over the years and currently has only one viable escape route. This project will also provide a vital connection with State Highway 82, significantly reducing commuting distances, severe traffic congestion, and greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to a worsening climate change challenge.
“Thanks to our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re connecting more of our communities and making transportation safer,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “That means updating outdated intersections, bike lanes, highways, and evacuation routes – across Colorado and in Glenwood Springs.”
“The South Bridge Project has long been a priority for Glenwood Springs,” said Senator Michael Bennet. “This investment of nearly $50 million will help connect the community and provide an alternate evacuation route in the event of wildfires or mudslides, which the Glenwood Springs area has seen more and more of in recent years. I urged the Biden administration to support this project, and I’m pleased they will receive this funding. This is what it looks like to invest in America again.”
The South Bridge project has been a critical regional priority since the 2002 Coal Seam Fire that destroyed numerous structures in Glenwood Springs. It first received congressionally earmarked funding in 2005.
“It is fantastic to see Colorado competing so well for significant new federal infrastructure funding. South Bridge is an example of an important project that could have been delayed for many more years without this funding – with it, Glenwood Springs will grow in a safer and more resilient way. We thank our federal and local partners for making it a priority to bring these dollars to Colorado,” said Governor Jared Polis.
“Congratulations to our partners in Glenwood Springs for achieving this incredible milestone. So many of us know firsthand what transportation challenges can look like in this region when places like Glenwood Canyon face challenges. Adding another entry and exit point is especially crucial in times of emergency and will become even more important as the region grows. CDOT looks forward to working together with Glenwood Springs to get this important project done,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshanna Lew.
The funding announced on December 12, 2023, is part of a U.S. Department of Transportation $645.3 million commitment from the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program to help communities around the United States complete transportation projects that will increase mobility, improve safety, and generate regional economic growth in rural areas.
“As wildfire season becomes longer and more intense, investments in infrastructure to increase resiliency and redundancy to wildfire evacuation routes is paramount. This has been our city’s number one infrastructure need for several decades,” said Glenwood Springs Mayor Ingrid Wussow. “We cannot thank Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper, and our entire congressional delegation enough. Without their support, along with Governor Jared Polis, CDOT Director Shoshana Lew, and District Three Representative Lauren Boebert, this would not be a reality.”