Since 1999, the need for a pedestrian bridge over this section of I-25 was identified in five plans, including the most recent planning of the Southeast Corridor. Since both Evans Avenue and Colorado Boulevard are heavily trafficked roads, an overpass was needed to provide pedestrians with safe passage over the highway.
"The need for the bridge has been evident for many years since that station was built in 2007," stated Emily Williams, spokesperson for Denver Public Works, the group responsible for the bridge's construction.
As the best solution, a 309' x 13'-3" Tied Arch-style, Continental® truss structure was selected for its aesthetic appeal, the economics of the prefabricated components, and the upfront project consultation. Due to the width to length ratio, two 5,500 lb tuned mass dampers were installed to control lateral vibration. This is the first Continental bridge to use this technology. The $8 million project includes access ramps on each end providing access from Cherry Street on the north side of the highway and the Colorado Light Rail Station to the south. According to RTD, the Colorado Station has 5,600 passengers per day, with 45 percent either walking or riding bikes to this station. In a statement, RTD said: "The proposed pedestrian bridge over I-25 connecting to RTD's Colorado Station will provide our riders with significantly improved accessibility and convenience, both of which are priorities for RTD."
With I-25 being the busiest roadway in Colorado, it was imperative that the Continental structure be installed at night to avoid as much disruption as possible to traffic. The extreme height of the arch made it challenging to install and required the use of multiple cranes to maneuver the structure into place. Overall, the structure was installed in just two evenings meeting the requirements, providing a successful installation and allowing I-25 to reopen on schedule.
"The Tied Arch truss provided by Contech met the project requirements and our requirements," said Richard Ledezma, Operations Manager with Jalisco International, Inc., the project's contractor. "The innovative design allowed us to set the truss one night and then the arch over it on another night. The Contech team was responsive on the delivery of the truss and arch sections, which had to be delivered just-in-time and at night since there was extremely limited space to assemble the truss and arch. The Contech team was with us each night during the cold Denver winter months working hard to resolve issues as they arose."
City capital improvement dollars provided half of the funds with the other half provided by the Federal Transportation Improvement Program. Since the project cost more than $1 million, there will be a public art component, which will be connected to the handrails at each support.
In July 2015, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the bridge with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock commenting that, "It is an asset to the critical need for pedestrians and bicyclists to safely and conveniently cross I-25."