Brighton Blvd. grand opening to happen Thursday even though work is not complete

Crews pouring concrete up until last minute
Posted at 10:34 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 00:50:41-04

DENVER-- Thursday is a big day for the RiNo Art District as the City of Denver will celebrate the grand opening of the renovated Brighton Boulevard.

The problem? Workers were still pouring concrete to complete the sidewalks up until the last minute Wednesday night.

It took a grueling 20 months to complete; felt mostly by the businesses suffering from the construction that badly affected their sales, but also by the commuters and bicyclists.

"You can’t turn left in certain spots, bike lanes aren't completed," said one bike rider who did not want to be identified for this story.

By Thursday, all four traffic lanes will be open, the storm drainage completed and most of the bike lanes and sidewalks will be finished. The cones and barricades will be cleaned up, but there is plenty left to finish.

"We would have loved for it all to be done by tomorrow, but I think what we also recognized is that the most painful part of this entire process was cars and bikes and people not being able to traverse the neighborhood. The ability for us to now have that be a reality as of tomorrow, was an important enough reason to celebrate," said Jamie Gillis, with the RiNo Art District.

The city couldn’t wait any longer as it’s been tough for businesses. A dog daycare had to close in February and the Comida restaurant owner lost a lot of business.

But Jonathan Kaplan told Denver7 his art gallery hung on.

"They found us in all kinds of inclement weather without sidewalks and all through the construction where there was no parking," said Kaplan.

He has two words for Thursday’s grand opening: "Monumentally epic."

Gillis told Denver7 there is landscaping still to come, new pedestrian lights, bike racks, signage and benches all planned for completion in the next few months.

"The businesses have definitely suffered. We recognize that. Thankfully most of them have held on and I would say that some of them are barely hanging on and are really looking forward to this party tomorrow and what comes after," Gillis said.