A planned 19th Street bridge and pathway figures to play a key role in CU Boulder’s efforts to improve connectivity between Main Campus and the area north of Boulder Creek, which includes student housing for about 1,700 freshman, upperclass and graduate students.
The CU Board of Regents on Thursday, Sept. 7, approved the $6 million 19th Street bridge and pathway project as part of the consent agenda at its regular meeting. The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) will cover 80 percent of the project cost, about $4.8 million, using federal Transportation Improvement Project funds. Campus will fund the other 20 percent, or $1.2 million.
Construction is slated to begin in fall 2018, with completion planned in time for the fall 2020 semester.
The project is part of CU Boulder’s post-2013 flood mitigation measures to address damaged and aging bridges along Boulder Creek. The 2013 flood wiped out a former bridge at 19th Street.
Final designs for the new 19th Street bridge and path are still being completed. But the plan is for the new bridge to lead to a pedestrian and cyclist path to Main Campus that meets Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The path is expected to gradually climb the steep slope along the north side of the Student Recreation Center. The ADA-compliant connection will complement the ADA route from Folsom Street to the Buffwalk (via elevators in the Indoor Practice Facility) that was created with the completion of the Athletics facilities upgrades.
“Aging infrastructure and damage from the 2013 flood has made improving connectivity across Boulder Creek a priority for our campus,” said David Kang, vice chancellor for infrastructure and safety. “The 19th Street bridge project and others will promote sustainable transportation methods and improve accessibility on our campus for decades to come.”
A new 23rd Street bridge, another project approved by the regents earlier this year that fits into the holistic approach to connectivity across Boulder Creek, remains in the design phase but will create another new bridge and connection from the area north of Boulder Creek to the Buffwalk, a major pedestrian thoroughfare. CU Boulder is working on obtaining final approval of funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that would cover a majority of that project’s $4 million price tag.
The 19th Street and 23rd Street bridges and their respective paths are designed to replace the 21st Street bridge, which is the only one that still provides a direct pedestrian connection to Main Campus following the 2013 flood and the ensuing Athletics facilities project.
East Campus, meanwhile, is also set to get a new central cross-creek connection. Construction is slated to begin this fall on a pedestrian bridge that will link the area just north of Prentup Field to the south end of Parking Lot 560, which serves the Administrative and Research Center (ARCE) and several other buildings north of the creek. That bridge is marked for completion in summer of 2018.