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I-25 Construction could make Ilex Bridge safer, boost business

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: Aug 16 2013 10:27:01 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 17 2013 03:49:05 PM CDT

Construction in Pueblo will not only make a bridge safer, it could boost business. It's going to happen off of the Ilex exit and Santa Fe Avenue. The Colorado Department of Transportation is getting ready to replace that bridge. The project will last two years.

Pueblo, Colo. -

Construction in Pueblo will not only make a bridge safer, it could boost business. It's going to happen off of the Ilex exit and Santa Fe Avenue.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is getting ready to replace that bridge. The project will last two years. Whenever there is road construction, it can be a hassle for businesses in the area.

CDOT has already started demolition first with a gas station. It's one of the seven businesses in the area that CDOT is knocking down in order to replace the Ilex bridge. One business owner whose planning on being around through the whole process says he's optimistic.

Habanero's Mexican Grill on Santa Fe Avenue, just off the Ilex exit opened a year ago. Business has been pretty good, but owner Iban Torres has one complaint.

"This part of the 25 highway is really old, is ugly, dirty,” said Torres.

Lucky for him, construction across the street could fix that.

"Right now you have two 12-foot lanes with two two-foot shoulders which is very sub-standard. So after this is done, you'll have three lanes in each direction with wider shoulders,” said CDOT Engineer Don Garcia.

With an exit shut down, it's possible Habaneros could lose customers, but torres has a different idea.

"The guys for the construction maybe take a lunch or something here,”said Torres.

And even better, once that bridge is back up and running, he's hoping drivers will notice more than the extra room on the road.

"The entrance at Runyon Field: we do have some panels that will have a baseball theme. It'll be a person sliding into home plate,” said Garcia.

A better look for drivers means better business.

"I think it's really good because the people see everything clean and maybe the people will come,” said Torres.

Habanero's just started delivering food. Something Torres says is working well now and will definitely help during construction.

CDOT will have a final plan for the new bridge in December. Crews should get started in late February.

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