More than a left-turn lane extension for CDOT project at 31st and Hwy 24Aug. 8, 2018
Several weeks ago, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced a project at 31st Street and Highway 24, describing it as an extension of
So why has all the work to date been occurring at the corners of the intersection?
That's because, as it turns out, the $1.7 million project involves other elements, too - requiring a temporary ban on pedestrians.
According to CDOT project manager Steve Goure, the schedule calls for the project as a whole to be finished by mid-November, with pedestrians allowed back in early October.
“We've told people,'It's going to inconvenience you for awhile, but when we're done you'll be thankful,'” he said.
During the work, traffic backups can be expected at times on either or both roads. The pedestrians have to be disallowed because of the work going on behind concrete barricades at three of the corners, Goure pointed out.
When the left-turn work starts, much of it will occur at night, CDOT resident engineer Dave Watt has previously said.
Here's what travelers can expect when the project is done (quotes from Goure):
- Eastbound left-turn lane, increased in length from 400 feet to 1,100 feet. However, he said he believes that the increase still “won't handle the worst
- New traffic signals, with technology that “should help with traffic movement.” They will have modernized push buttons for people on foot and will look better because they will no longer be hanging on the “old span wires.”
- Less standing water after storms because of upgraded storm drains.
- Smaller concrete traffic islands (with handicapped ramps, as before) at the northwest, northeast and southeast corners. The smaller islands will give vehicles “more room to maneuver.”
- Other concrete work, as needed (curbs, gutters and sidewalks).
- An additional retaining wall at the intersection's southwest corner - the one with the steep slopes - to lessen the chance of “all that material sloughing off after heavy rains” (which has happened already during the project).
Not included, because of lack of space, are sidewalks on the 31st Street bridge over Fountain Creek, Goure said. The pedestrian bridge from the Midland Trail into the KFC parking lot west of 31st Street continues to be the recommended north-south route for people on foot (and for less bold bicyclists).
The last major work at the intersection occurred 11 years ago, when the present retaining wall was built at the southwest corner, a southbound lane was added on 31st, and the existing traffic islands were installed at the northwest, northeast and southeast intersections.
For the current project, people on foot might be wryly (or wearily) amused by a CDOT press release advising that, “while the sidewalk is closed, pedestrians are encouraged to cross U.S. 24 at the 26th Street intersection.” That intersection is about a half-mile away.
The current work does not represent an implementation of CDOT's “Envision 24 West” plan that was federally approved in 2012. “Envision” called for the highway to be widened to three lanes each way, but for the foreseeable future it's staying at two.
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