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As seen in this view from the southwest corner of Highway 24 and 21st Street, the highway's westbound left-turn lane only has room for about 10 cars, which is often not enough. A project this year by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will add more "stacking" space, including a second turn lane.
Westside Pioneer file photo

Repaving, fiber lines, 21st Street intersection upgrades for Westside Hwy 24 in 2019

Feb. 1, 2019
       A just-started project to install underground fiber optic cable kicks off a year in which Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) maintenance crews will
A fiber-optic crew with CDOT contractor Paonia Inc., is shown at work Feb. 1 along the south side of Highway 24 between 8th and 21st streets.
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be busy along Highway 24 through the Westside.
       Lasting through September, the fiber work will be overlapped from May to late October by a pavement resurfacing project that will also improve four bridges, replace traffic signals and give westbound highway drivers more room to make left turns at 21st Street.
       Overall, the fiber will be laid from I-25 to Woodland Park, at a contracted cost of $2.5 million.
       The resurfacing will be implemented from I-25 to a point west of Manitou Springs. Combined with the bridge work and 21st Street upgrades, its estimated cost is $10.4 million.
       Fiber optic. This work, by contractor Paonia Inc. should only affect traffic in places where crews cannot dig beside the road or the median cannot be used, explained agency spokesperson Michelle Peulen. At bridges, the conduit will be attached underneath, she added.
       The project started about a week ago, moving east from 21st Street along the south side of the four-lane highway (which is also known as Cimarron Street). CDOT's
Random potholes are noticeable on Highway 24/Cimarron Street through the Westside, such as these at the intersection with 26th Street. A resurfacing is scheduled this year.
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intent is to finish the work east of Manitou as early as possible, to avoid conflicts with the paving project. The final fiber phases will be Cascade to Manitou Springs, followed by Woodland Park east, Peulen said.
       The fiber-optic project is part of CDOT's Smart Mobility Plan, a multi-year endavor to upgrade “statewide technology deployment,” summarized CDOT Region 2 Program Engineer Mark Andrew. Featured improvements will be “increased traffic monitoring, real time communication to the traveling public [including weather-related closures] and emerging vehicle communication technologies, all of which greatly improve safety and efficiency,” he said.
       Resurfacing. The highway's resurfacing need is evident, as many Westside motorists can attest after dodging potholes.
       According to Region 2 Resident Engineer Dave Watt, about 2 inches of new pavement will be poured, although crews will have to “dig a little deeper” in a roughly 300-foot stretch near the Crystal Hills Boulevard overpass where the current roadway has “some soft spots.”
       Most of the work will occur at night and the highway will remain open in both directions. This will still mean occasional lane closures, but Watt elaborated that in the busiest segment, between 8th and 31st streets, “there will no closures in the daytime.”
       21st Street. Highway 24's current westbound left-turn lane (also called a “stacking lane”) is limited to about 10 vehicles because of a gap caused by the highway's bridge over
The gap (left in photo) in the Fountain Creek bridge east of 21st Street currently limits how many vehicles can wait in Highway 24's westbound left-turn lane.
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Fountain Creek. This results at times in too many cars for the stacking lane, and it backs up into the fast lane.
       The CDOT plan is to fill in around the gap so the current lane can be lengthened to about 300 feet, then make room for a second stacking lane next to it, which will extend beyond it to a distance of 700 feet in all.
       “The idea came from the city traffic folks,” Watt said “If we could fill in that gap, we could get more left turns there. This will help the cause. We hope it will eliminate cars backing into the through lanes. That's what we want to get rid of.”
       Also at 21st, CDOT will widen the roadway between Naegele Road and Highway 24 to provide a full southbound right-turn lane at the highway, Watt said.
       A contractor has not yet been hired. Advertising for bids is likely to start in February, he said.
       In additional Westside Highway 24 CDOT work… This month, along the highway at 31st Street and Ridge Road, concrete barriers that were placed on the median for intersection projects will be replaced with permanent guardrails, a press release states.
       The overall project, which started last year and featured an extension of the highway's eastbound left-turn lane, is now slated for completion this spring. This will allow installation of new signal poles and arms at 31st, which are not expected to arrive until late March, the release adds.
       Pedestrians should use caution at the intersection to verify which nonmotorized crossings may still be closed.

Westside Pioneer article
(Transportation: Major Roads)

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