Short duration holds may impact pedestrians, cyclists, boaters, and drivers
On Jul. 12 there will be several 20-to-30-minute shutdowns of the Gore Valley Trail in Dowd Junction while a new utility bridge is lifted into place over the Eagle River as part of the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District’s sewer main replacement project in the area.
During the shutdowns, all pedestrian and bicycle traffic will be halted while two cranes fly the bridge segments into place. The work will also affect river users as the boat ramp across from the U.S. Forest Service building in Dowd Junction will be closed during crane operations. Anyone in or near the river in the vicinity, such as boaters or anglers, will be asked to leave the river for the duration of the construction operation over the water.
Drivers on U.S. Highway 6 & 24 may experience short stops while construction crews get in place on the Gore Valley Trail bridge. Traffic flow will be maintained in both directions though travelers should use caution as a lane shift will be in place.
If you are delayed by one of these shutdowns, you will likely get the chance to view very complex construction activity as the bridge is flown over the river and set on the abutments and pier. Please spectate safely; stay behind onsite traffic control for your protection and that of the construction crews.
The new bridge will hold a new larger sewer main that will provide multiple benefits over the existing aerial sewer crossing, which is more than 50 years old and has reached the end of its useful life. The new main will increase system reliability and capacity and the new bridge will allow for regular maintenance activities and improve worker safety. After the bridge is in place and the new main is operational, crews will remove the current aerial crossing and its two concrete support piers from the Eagle River, which will help restore the river channel.
The bridge installation is part of the second phase of a multi-year wastewater infrastructure improvement project in the Dowd Junction area that spans from the County Road bridge to the Gore Valley Trail bridge. Phase I began in Aug. 2020 near the intersection of U.S. Highway 24 and County Road in Minturn and included a new pedestrian bridge that extended the Eagle Valley Trail system, while Phase II began in spring 2021. Both projects are replacing critical sewer mains in challenging locations that are part of the wastewater collection system which conveys sewage to the district’s wastewater treatment facility in Avon.
The third and final phase of the multi-year project is scheduled to begin Jul. 18. Phase III work includes the construction of a new lift station across from the Forest Service building to replace the nearby existing one and replacing the sewer main between the end of Phase I and the new lift station.
Additionally, two dual force sewer mains will be constructed from the lift station downstream to the end of Phase II work. As with Phase I, the end of Phase III includes a partnership with Eagle County’s ECO Trails to connect the bike trail from Minturn to the Gore Valley Trail intersection.
When Phase III begins, the Eagle Valley Trail will be closed between County Road and the boat ramp, with cyclists diverted to U.S. Highway 24 throughout construction. The boat ramp will be open, though there may be occasional planned closures.
The Phase II project should be complete in fall 2022 and Phase III should be done in late fall 2023. The overall project is funded by wastewater service rates and property assessments, with the trail portion of the work funded by Eagle County. The project engineers are HDR Engineering, Murraysmith, and Otak. The Phase II contractor is Mueller Construction Services while Phase III is Gould Construction.