The Larimer Street Bridge, which crosses Cherry Creek and connects Speer Boulevard and the Auraria Campus to Downtown Denver, will be demolished and rebuilt.
City Council’s Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a $6,345,997.02 contract with Hamon Infrastructure, INC. to finish the project on September 20. The full Council approved the contract on Monday, Oct. 3.
“The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure anticipates that work will begin by December on a full replacement of the Larimer Street bridge over Cherry Creek between 14th Street and Speer Boulevard,” DOTI spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo wrote in an email. “The bridge there now was built in 1958. The new bridge will be more comfortable and safer for people walking and biking, particularly between downtown and the Auraria Campus.”
Once started, the Larimer Street Bridge project would need to be finished within 300 days. Lacayo anticipates work will be wrapped up by next summer or early fall.
The funding comes from Elevate Denver — the $937 million bond passed by voters in 2017 for more than 460 infrastructure and public improvement projects around town to be built by 2027.
Bridge closures are a big deal to Denverites.
The decision to demolish and rebuild the Larimer Street Bridge comes weeks after downtown residents expressed frustration about the closure of two pedestrian bridges across Cherry Creek, one at Wynkoop Street and the other at Delgany Street.
The Wewatta Bridge reopened last month. The Delgany Street bridge repairs were stalled, as nobody could say who owned the bridge.
Since 1990, Denver-based Hamon Infrastructure has served as a general contractor on massive road and bridge projects across Colorado and New Mexico.
The company has worked on the I-25 express lanes and the Speer Boulevard and I-25 bridge replacement. It also widened Washington Street.
Hamon boasts that it’s able to wrap projects on time and within budget and minimize traffic disruptions, but there have been some some bumps in the road for the company.
In September 2021, the company sued the Colorado Department of Transportation for causing delays on an I-25 expansion project, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported. The complaint alleged CDOT’s many changes to its plans caused Hamon to miss its deadline.
In 2011, the City of Louisville settled a court case with Hamon over the price of the reconstruction of a section of 96th Street, Colorado Hometown Weekly reported.
The news of the bridge construction project comes as Denver’s planning department considers a radical reworking of Cherry Creek and the Cherry Creek Trail.
In August, the Urban Land Institute presented ideas about how the Auraria Campus, which houses the University of Colorado Denver, Metro State University and the Community College of Denver, could be better integrated into downtown.
Adding housing and more retail, slowing down Speer Boulevard, and rerouting the Cherry Creek Trail and the creek itself were among the suggested ideas. Ultimately, the trail and creek would become part of a Central Park-like green area in the center of an expanded downtown.
Other Downtown Denver expansion projects, like the redevelopment of 55 acres of Ball Arena parking lots and the River Mile development on the current Elitch Gardens site, would also require some rethinking about how to get people across Speer Boulevard and the creek.
“Our planned improvements include a two-way protected bikeway as well as added space for people to comfortably walk through the area,” Lacayo noted. “We also anticipate adding better pedestrian lighting, seating, and trees… We’ve been working closely with the Auraria campus to help us design the new space, as this project will help to better integrate the campus with Downtown.”
This article has been updated with comment from DOTI officials.