Crews are set to replace the bridge on Airport Road over Spring Creek, which officials say is deteriorating, is too narrow to accommodate sidewalks and prone to flooding.
Construction is set to begin in December to replace the 47-year-old bridge on one of Colorado Springs’ major east-to-west thoroughfares. Officials say the new structure will reduce flood risk and improve pedestrian access.
New sidewalks will be added across the bridge on both sides of Airport Road, with the current bridge too narrow to accommodate them in an area that relies on pedestrian accessibility, the project website states.
“This situation results in pedestrians sometimes walking in the traffic lanes of this busy roadway, which is very hazardous,” according to the website.
Additionally, Spring Creek drains a densely developed watershed and tends to flood. The current bridge has less than half the necessary capacity to pass the 100-year flood under the roadway — a flood event with a 1% probability of being equaled or exceeded in a given year. Last summer, creek flow overran the roadway and created hazards for motorists and pedestrians.
Crews will dredge the creek channel below the bridge, allowing floodwaters to pass below the roadway, project manager Clyde Pikkaraine said.
The existing bridge is a three-celled concrete box culvert, 42 feet wide and 5 feet high; the new bridge will be a two-celled concrete box culvert 44 feet wide and 9 feet high.
“The increase in depth of the crossing is how we are increasing the capacity of the crossing so that the 100-year design flood will stay in the new concrete box culvert,” Pikkaraine said in an email to The Gazette.
The existing crossing is about 75 feet long; the new crossing will be about 90 feet long. Airport Road over Spring Creek will have two through lanes each way, a left turn lane and sidewalks on both sides of the road, Pikkaraine said.
Airport Road over the bridge at Spring Creek, 200 yards west of Academy Boulevard and north of the Valley Hi Golf Course, will close in December for about four months while the bridge is rebuilt and utilities are relocated.
Detours will be in place when bridge work begins, Pikkaraine said, though the detour routes haven't been identified. Access will remain open to the Korean Baptist Church on the west side of Spring Creek, a Family Dollar store east of the creek, and Fire Station 8, adjacent to the project site, he said.
As part of the project, Colorado Springs Utilities crews will also relocate water, sewer and gas lines that run under the bridge.
Utilities work will begin this month when crews replace about 2,500 feet of existing sewer line with a larger 42-inch pipe and move gas lines.
Construction on the sewer and gas lines is expected to wrap up in January. Bridge replacement and water line relocation work should be complete by June, according to the project website.
The estimated project cost, including design, is as much as $12 million, Pikkaraine said. The bridge replacement will cost around $4.4 million, according to the Pikes Peak Regional Transportation Authority. Pikkaraine said the sewage line replacement is also around $4 million.
The bridge replacement is one of 10 voter-approved Pikes Peak Regional Transportation Authority projects through 2024.