Bridging a big gap

The dedication of the 29 Road Overpass Saturday opened a new avenue in the transportation system for the Grand Valley.

First, it continues the important corridor created when the 29 Road Bridge over the Colorado River was completed a few years ago, establishing a needed new connection between Orchard Mesa and the rest of the Grand Valley.

With the overpass, travelers on 29 Road will now be able to cross the Union Pacific railroad tracks without detours, making the connection even more important.

Additionally, the overpass provides continuity for the eastern part of Riverside Parkway, allowing people to travel north to the central part of the valley without having to go east to 30 Road to cross the railroad tracks.

Although there is not yet enough money for the next phase, it is expected that 29 Road will eventually connect to Interstate 70 as well. That will truly make it a critical north-south corridor.

There will be some griping about the design of the overpass, most notably because there is an on-ramp only in one direction — for eastbound travelers on the I-70 Business Loop turning south onto 29 Road. People have already asked why there isn’t at least a ramp for northbound 29 Road motorists turning east on I-70B.

But the more important issue is that there is finally a continuous 29 Road route from Patterson Road all the way to Orchard Mesa.

The project cost just under $20 million and was a cooperative effort between Mesa County and the city of Grand Junction. A $3.2 million energy impact grant from the state helped in covering the cost. Lawrence Construction Company of Littleton was the contractor on the project.

Congratulations to all those involved in bridging this gap in the important 29 Road corridor.


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