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Glenwood Springs prepares for potential one-hour traffic delays for next 95 days

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. -- Drivers in Glenwood Springs are preparing for major traffic delays of up to an hour for the next three months as a bridge project shuts down a major thoroughfare through the town.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is replacing the Grand Avenue Bridge with a newer and safer bridge.

Each day, an estimated 24,000 cars pass over the bridge; it's the gateway to the Roaring Fork Valley.

During the project's estimated 95-day duration, the traffic will be rerouted onto a two-lane road through the town.

"Big cities have a little bit different scenario. They can put people through different routes. Here, with the geography of the valley we are in makes that pretty difficult," CDOT spokesman Tracy Trulove said.

During construction, CDOT is asking drivers of one in every three cars to stay off the road during peak commuting times in the morning and evening.

If that doesn't happen, it could take up to an hour to get through the detour.

The town and CDOT are pushing people to walk, bike, carpool or work from home. Companies are also changing office hours so employees can come in at nonpeak times.

Business owners such as Sue Sharpe, who owns clothing store Confetti on Grand Avenue, hope the traffic doesn't scare people away.

She said she likens it to the hype around Y2K -- people expected it to be a problem but it wasn't. She hopes people continue to come shop at local businesses during construction.

"We hope everyone still comes, everyone is still here and it's still the same little town. It might be even better because there won't be all that traffic on Grand Avenue right now," Sharpe said.

The project is expected to last 95 days, so long as weather cooperates.