PTFE for short, the Teflon-coated woven fiberglass covers institutions in town, from Union Station's train terminals to Denver International Airport. And soon it will cover another iconic spot: the Regional Transportation District's Civic Center Station.
As drivers snarled in its construction traffic know all too well, the last stop for the 16th Street Mall's free MallRide has been closed the last fifteen months for renovations. It will reopen in mid- to late December with a brand-new look — and what project architects tout as some unique traits.
Let's start with the foam: 180,000 cubic feet of "geofoam" — aka cooler material — will replace dirt as structural fill. "It's the largest geofoam project in downtown Denver," says Dave Espinosa, senior project manager for Mortenson Construction, the project's general contractor. Geofoam is commonly used in road projects, such as embankments, and doesn't take on water, Espinosa says. And hauling the stuff is less costly than moving dirt.
The new station includes many of the same features as the old station, including the MallRide pickup circle. But the new station covers about 9,000 feet, down from 18,000. The smaller space gets rid of a lot of the old station's "dead space" and will allow for tighter security, Espinosa says; buses leaving the station will have better views, making the area safer for pedestrians. And, he adds, the station itself has storefront-type windows to allow for more light, eliminating the "dingy" feel of the old station.