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City Engineering: Phase 1 of Centennial extension to start this fall

       Concepts are turning into certainties for construction of the long-discussed, partially completed Centennial Boulevard extension.
       Colorado Springs engineers, along with hired consultants, have drawn up a two-phase schedule that shows work starting later this year and the entire link opening by late 2020.
A map-graphic by a Colorado Springs Engineering consultant shows the basic line of the planned Centennial extension (in blue) between Fillmore Street (far right) and Fontanero Street (far left). View looks west, with I-25 in the foreground.
Courtesy of Colorado Springs Engineering

       When it does, it will be a 1½-mile, four-lane roadway from Fillmore Street to the Fontanero/I-25 interchange - intended to relieve traffic on both Fillmore and Chestnut streets.
       Phase 1 of the work will focus on filling in a 600-foot gap in the previously built road between Fillmore and Van Buren Street, according to Aaron Egbert, the project manager for City Engineering. The segment is north of Mesa Valley Road, downhill from the segment that goes past the VA Clinic.
       Phase 1 plans are complete, but permanent and temporary easements need to be signed off before construction can start, he said. "The easements are needed for the increased sidewalk width on the west side of the road (10 feet), a water quality feature (sand filter basin) on the east side of the road and temporary grading easements on both sides," Egbert said.
       He said negotiations involve five property owners in all. Foreseeing no obstacles in that effort, he predicted that October will “probably” be the month that a construction contract will be approved by the RTA.
       Work is expected to begin shortly thereafter, with final paving occurring in the spring. At that point, he elaborated, people will finally be allowed to drive the extension between Fillmore and Van Buren.
       However, Egbert reiterated the city's longstanding pledge to the adjacent Mesa Springs neighborhood to avoid cut-through traffic by not allowing Fillmore to link to the two local streets (Van Buren and Mesa Valley Road) until the entire extension is complete.
       Egbert acknowledged that current barricades on Van Buren and Mesa Valley have proven ineffective, but said, “We will do a better job” in that regard after Phase 1 is complete.
       Phase 2 will consist of all new road from Van Buren to Fontanero, along with finish work (including sidewalks) in other areas. But that work can't start until the property owner just south of Van Buren - a group named MVS Development LLC - cleans up a trash site left over from past owners. A state permit is needed. The incentive is that MVS has concept-plan approval from the city to build more than 400 homes on the 47-acre location.
       The group had obtained such a permit several years ago, but it expired because the city didn't have extension funding yet, Egbert explained. The project team anticipates that a new permit will be in place and the cleanup finished by the end of December 2018. Early 2019 is when Phase 2 is scheduled to start.
       The project budget for both phases is now $13.5 million. Initially envisioned by city planners 30-some years ago as a way to relieve traffic on Fillmore Street and its I-25 interchange, the extension is an "A-list" item on the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) project list approved in 2012 by area voters. The originally approved RTA amount was $10.45 million.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/20/17, updated 8/24/17; Transportation: Centennial Extension)

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