By Eric Heinz
Looking at cost and feasibility, the city has chosen to examine the construction of a bridge from the Fox Park development site to Sunnyside as opposed to a tunnel that would have traveled north into Globeville.
The development team originally planned to construct either a tunnel that would run traffic through Globeville under I-70 to connect to 48th Avenue, or a multimodal bridge that would run traffic through the northeast corner of the Sunnyside neighborhood at 47th Avenue.
David Gaspers, a principal planner with the city, said Denver asked the Fox Park developers to do an additional feasibility study on the northern connector, which was then sent to the Development Review Committee, which chose to move forward with the bridge. Gaspers said the choice for the bridge is based on a study conducted in 2009 that looked at a possible Fox Park connector.
That was long before the 41st and Fox Street RTD commuter station and development plans for housing were submitted.
“Ultimately, the bridge does a much better job of implementing the community’s vision that was adopted in that plan as opposed to the tunnel, and I think a little bit more of an intuitive connection to the 41st and Fox Station,” Gaspers said.
The bridge is estimated to cost about $28 million, whereas the tunnel would have been about $40 million. According to the Fox Park development team, which is paying for the infrastructure, the tunnel would have also entered into an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site.
Gaspers said the city will consider designs that would go through a formal review process and that it could take a few years before it is completed.
“In the meantime, (Fox Park) will have other infrastructure projects they’re going to be doing, more design and potential construction work on before the bridge gets built out,” he said. “When Fox Park does come back in with more formalized designs, we want to make sure it’s a complete multimodal street that’s very bike- and pet-friendly and works well with their street design.”
The Fox Park development is planned to be a mixed-use urban hub with an estimated 3,300 units for up to 6,000 people to call home, in addition to 34,000 square feet of retail, 80,000 square feet of culture and entertainment facilities, 14 acres of interconnected parks and open space, and other amenities. The development area announced last year that it is also planning to host the World Trade Center’s headquarters.