January 24, 2012
by John Kiljan
The planned date for closing Garrison Street and the start of construction on the replacement bridge and rechanneling Ralston Creek within the adjacent park has slipped to at least the end of March.
City project engineer Mark Floyd says the cause of the delay is regulatory. Originally, the City was scheduled to have all of its project approvals in place and a construction contract awarded by October of last year. However, Arvada was required to get approval from five outside agencies before construction could begin. Those approvals took longer than expected. So far the City has received only four of those needed approvals.
The last approval needed is to come from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA manages the National Flood Insurance Program as well as providing emergency relief funding when a flood does occur. FEMA is expected to give its approval shortly. Arvada will soon begin a three-week solicitation for bids on the project’s multi-million dollar construction contract. Then the Arvada City Council has to authorize the contract before actual construction can begin.
All of that amounts to a delay until the end of March — and that’s still if everything goes as planned. In the meantime, visitors might see the parks department removing equipment and furnishings from the area, the removal of the old ceramics lab, some minor re-grading and the beginning of the tree transplaning.
The delay could make the project more challenging. Working in a creek bed fed by a large drainage area can be tricky at any time of the year, but the risk of flooding is much higher in the spring than it is during the winter. The flood that made Ralston Creek top its banks last May came after only an inch of rainfall. Readers can see pictures of the effects of that flood on the City’s website referenced below.
Tree relocations and removals in the park may be another challenge. Since the next phase of tree removals can take place before the actual construction contract is awarded, Mr Floyd is optimistic that the work can be done before the spring bird nesting season begins. The first live tree relocations may be done near the park’s ceramics center which is soon to be pulled down and re-graded for the park’s memorial trees.
The delay also affects the start of construction on the new Arvada K-8 Park at Carr Street and Ralston Road. Much of the embankment needed to build the new park will come from the newly excavated Ralston Creek flood channel. That dirt hauling work has to be done before the rest of the school’s park can be constructed.
The good news is that drivers will probably not have to detour around a blocked-off Garrison Street this winter. The other good news is that our recent spell of warm weather has allowed the contractor to place “hot mix” asphalt in the trenches recently cut for the Garrison Street water main replacement project. Because of the cold temperatures, hot-mix asphalt is not normally available in January and the temporary “cold mix” patches used instead quickly develop potholes in wet weather. The net result should be a much less bumpy drive down Garrison Street while it is still open to through traffic.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The City maintains a web page on Arvada.org on the Garrison Street project and the park renovation. However, the web page has not been updated for many months and the construction schedule it shows is far out of date. Still, the page is probably worth checking from time to time as the new construction schedule becomes better defined. The site also has a list of phone numbers for the project that citizens can contact directly with specific concerns. And it has a nice collection of photos showing the effects of last spring’s mini-flood. To go to the project web page follow this link:
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community will post more information online on its website at http://www.ralstoncommunity.org/ as it becomes available. There is also an extensive list of archived CLRC articles relating to the park’s reconstruction, the floodplain work, the bridge reconstruction and for the development plans for the adjacent Triangle shopping center and the central Ralston Road corridor. You can also friend us on Facebook at “Ralston Arvada” to see links to newer articles as they are posted.
John Kiljan, CLRC News: 303-423-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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