With a groundbreaking ceremony Dec. 7, construction has officially begun on the city's long-awaited alternate truck route. Still, it will be the first of the year before Hamon Contractors tackles the job in earnest, a company representative said following the groundbreaking ceremony at the corner of Palmer Street and Gunnison River Drive.
Project completion will require about 15 months and will entail the construction of a new four-lane truck bypass to be known as Confluence Drive as well as bridges over a rail spur and 1st Street (which includes a pedestrian undercrossing), drainage and water quality improvements, and railroad realignment.
"This has been a long time coming and we're excited to be getting started with actual work," said city manager Justin Clifton. At the groundbreaking ceremony he joined other city and county officials in praising public works director Jim Hatheway for his leadership. "There are so many phases to a project like this . . . an endless list of tasks to make this go smoothly. Jim has put forth tremendous effort."
Since an alternate truck route was first suggested to city council in 1947, removing truck traffic from Delta's historic downtown corridor has been a top priority, Hatheway said. The other primary goal is to provide better emergency response to residents and businesses on the north side of the railroad tracks. As an added bonus, school buses will be able to transport students without having to deal with an at-grade crossing. The capacity of the city to grow will be enhanced, and a better detour will be in place for downtown events such as the Parade of Lights.
"I am looking forward to the challenge that lies before us to take this project from paper and put it into physical infrastructure," Hatheway said. "I am looking forward to the time when we can cut the ribbon and put the first trucks on this route."
Mayor pro-tem Mary Cooper reiterated the council's concern for the health, safety and welfare of the community. "That's what this truck route is predominantly about," she said. "I personally know some people who almost didn't make it to the hospital on time because a train was blocking the highway."
County commissioner Bruce Hovde offered the congratulations of Delta County, Susan Polappos shared comments from Senator Mark Udall, and Scott Streit represented Congressman Scott Tipton's office.
"You can definitely tell this is a government project; it's been in discussion since 1947," Streit said. "That's okay because you did it right, from the local level up. You worked up with your citizenry, you got a vote of confidence, and then you worked with your state agencies. That's the way government is supposed to work. Thanks for the example you've set — an example of what government is supposed to be, focused on public safety and developing our infrastructure.
"Most of all, thanks for not asking for money," he quipped.
Bruce Hamon, owner of Hamon Contractors, said it's a privilege and an honor for his company to be part of the project. The Front Range company has never worked in Delta, although the firm has been involved in projects elsewhere on the Western Slope.
To the businesses that will be affected by construction, particularly those along Gunnison River Drive, Hamon said, "Please know that our company and our crews fully understand and appreciate the impact of these kinds of projects and we will do everything, absolutely everything, within our power to minimize the impact to your business. If there's any way you feel you're not being accommodated, please let us know."
Rob Pratt, the lead designer for Stantec Engineering, said he and his team spent "innumerable hours" working on Confluence Drive for the better part of seven years. "Although we always thought it was going to happen sooner, we are finally here."
During the course of the festivities, appreciation was expressed to the Delta City Council, especially Mary Cooper, Ray Penick and Guy Pfalzgraff, who formed an alternate truck route advisory team; to city staff and attorneys Mike Schottelkotte and Susan Hilyard; to Stantec, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Transportation Resource Services for professional resources; and to the Department of Local Affairs, Delta County and Union Pacific for financial support.
"Last but not least we could not build this project without the financial support of the taxpayers and citizens of the City of Delta whose overwhelming response to our bond question in 2009 made this project a reality," Hatheway said.
Many of the truck route committee members who helped with the bond initiative in 2009 were present — Gerald Roberts, Les Renfrow, Chris Miller, Richard Simmons, Linda Sanchez, Deana Sheriff and Kay Carlquist. City employee Steve Glammeyer was recognized for getting the project off dead center and securing the DOLA grant.
Hatheway closed the ceremony with the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy, "Let's get 'er done." And with that, council members and project leaders grabbed their hard hats and gold shovels for a photo commemorating the event.blog comments powered by Disqus