The Millennium Bridge is Closed and it Ruined Elias’s Lunch Break

The Millennium Bridge pedestrian thoroughfare closed for maintenance yesterday. Photo: Andy Bosselman
The Millennium Bridge pedestrian thoroughfare closed for maintenance yesterday. Photo: Andy Bosselman
Denver's iconic Millennium Bridge viewed from the 16th Street Free MallRide turnaround at Union Station. Photo: Andy Bosselman
Denver’s Millennium Bridge viewed from the 16th Street Free MallRide turnaround at Union Station. Photo: Andy Bosselman

Denver’s iconic Millennium Bridge closed without notice yesterday, leaving many people who depend on the major pedestrian thoroughfare confused about how to get between the Riverfront and Union Station neighborhoods. 

Contractors are resurfacing the bridge for the winter and it will reopen on Wednesday around 3 p.m., according to East West Partners, the real estate firm that developed the Riverfront Park neighborhood. But for now people are left scratching their heads looking for detours.

The 10 to 12-block workarounds required for pedestrians could lead to people missing trains and buses at Union Station. Elias Olivas knew an alternative route to get to the other side, but he said the lack of notice and detour ruined his 30-minute lunch break.

“All this construction is happening out of nowhere,” he said. Olivas is an intern at a downtown financial services firm who encountered the closure while picking up lunch for his boss and coworkers, a time when he normally gets 15 minutes to himself. Gesturing toward 15th Street, he described a time-consuming detour. “Now I have to go five blocks that way, then two blocks that way.” 

Elias Olivas gestures toward 15th St. as he described a time-consuming detour around the Millenium Bridge. The pedestrian bridge closed completely yesterday without notice. Photo: Andy Bosselman
Elias Olivas gestures toward 15th St. as he described a time-consuming detour around the Millenium Bridge. The pedestrian bridge closed completely yesterday without notice. Photo: Andy Bosselman

The sudden closure came with no prior warning or detour information posted for the residents and tourists who use the bridge, leaving many people confused about how to cross the light rail and freight tracks that run along the northern edge of downtown. 

“I would have used Google Maps,” said Sumar Kumar, who planned to visit Confluence Park but gave up. 

Notice of the closure and detour information would have been posted if the city maintained the bridge, but it is managed by the Central Platte Valley Metropolitan District, according to Heather Burke of the Department of Public Works. Streetsblog was not able to contact the district before publication of this story. 

Alternative routes around the Millennium Bridge (from Downtown):

  • People headed in the direction of REI can navigate to 15th Street and turn right to walk in the concrete-enclosed pedestrian area above the street where traffic moves at highway speeds, a roughly 10-block detour. 
  • People headed in the direction of the skate park can go to the 18th Street pedestrian bridge, a roughly 12-block detour.  

Support the nonprofit mission of Streetsblog Denver. Give $5 per month.


 

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Tuesday’s Headlines 7/27/21: Prairie dogs > parking

|
Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area Neighbors worry plan to develop parking lot will wipe out prairie dog colony (The Denver Channel) Denver police investigate fatal crash at Sixth Avenue and Kalamath Street (The Denver Post) Denver weather: More hot temperatures, poor air quality (The Denver Gazette) Reducing air pollution can lower Alzheimer’s, dementia risk, […]

Monday’s Headlines 7/26/21: How can RTD lure riders back?

|
Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area Cheap or free fares? RTD should take “urgent” action to lure riders back, report says. (The Denver Post) Two years after tragic death, still no changes to bike lanes on S. Marion Pkwy. (The Denver Channel) Denver offers grants for groups, businesses in priority neighborhoods (The Denver Gazette) Denver7 […]

Friday’s Headlines 7/23/21: Bike-in to a movie tonight!

|
Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area Forget the drive-in — this Denver movie night is a bike-in (The Know) Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp dies after bicycle crash the former Broncos QB coach was hit by a driver on Saturday (NBC News) Sloan’s Lake temporarily closed after toxic algae bloom build-up (The Denver Gazette) Denver Air Quality […]