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The reshaping of Columbia Road between Colorado Avenue (foreground) and Pikes Peak Avenue has been occurring since June, including new underground utilities and storm drains and the demolition of the former trees, stone wall/fence and roadway as part of the Westside Avenue Action Plan. Columbia is scheduled to reopen with its new alignment in late September, including a similar type of wall/fence, but no trees.
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Ridge Road from Colorado Avenue (foreground), looking south to Highway 24, had been closed since late June as Wildcat Construction dug up the road for underground upgrades. The segment north of the creek was paved and reopened just before Coffee with the Contractor Aug. 29.
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Adams Crossing Bridge to open, Columbia Road to reopen in late September

A Wildcat Construction crew works near a recently installed, decorative aspect for the under-construction Colorado Avenue bridge over Fountain Creek at Columbia Road. Called the Adams Crossing Bridge, the span is scheduled to open by the end of September.
Westside Pioneer photo
Aug. 31, 2018
       Despite issues with costs, delays and weather, the Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) is moving forward “as fast as possible,” with most of the major work to be completed “early next year,” according to new project manager Brett Hartzell.
       This includes opening the new Adams Crossing Bridge to traffic by the end of September, it was noted at the Aug. 29 “Coffee with the Contractor” at the Westside Community Center. A “traffic advisory” with a four-week schedule, which was handed out for the question/answer session, states the following for the week of Sept. 24: “Switch traffic to new alignment (new bridge).”
       At that point, roughly “an eighth” of the new bridge will still need to be finished, elaborated Zane Stultz of Wildcat Construction, the project contractor. That's roughly the size of the space now used by the old bridge just to the south, which will carry traffic until the Adams span is operational.
       “So the bridge will be all the way done toward the end of the year,” Stultz summarized.
       Mostly funded by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) sales tax, WAAP is a major rebuild of about 1˝ miles of Colorado/Manitou Avenue west of
Addressing the audience in the Westside Community Center, Zane Stultz, head of Wildcat Construction, holds up the traffic advisory with a four-week schedule provided for the Coffee with the Contractor gathering Aug. 29.
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31st Street. The project is being managed by the county in conjunction with Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.
       When WAAP started in December 2016, the cost was estimated at $30.9 million, with completion predicted for December 2018. Various complications have since raised the estimate to about $35 million, with about $5 million more needed to finish completely in May, according to project info from an RTA board meeting in August. (See Westside Pioneer article at this link.)
       Because of the impact WAAP has had on traffic, businesses and residents in the Adams Crossing area of the Westside and Manitou, Coffee with the Contractor sessions have been held every few months to hear about issues people are facing.
       In addition to the bridge, the Aug. 29 “Coffee” announced the opening in late September of another stretch of road - one that's next to the bridge: Columbia Road between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues. This roadway segment has been closed for a major makeover since late June. “All the storm drains are done," Stultz said. "We will start grading for the road in a week and pave it in three to four weeks.”
       A very visible aspect of the Columbia work has been the demolition of a long-time stone-wall-with-fence next to the Garden of the Gods RV Resort (just to the west) and the elm trees that had lined it. The resort site was originally developed nearly a century ago as the Stonewall Park motor camp.
       The demolition was needed to widen Columbia for a second southbound lane at Colorado Avenue, which will let cars turn right (westbound) using the new bridge. The land to allow that widening was acquired from the resort. Plans call for a replacement wall and fence looking much the same.
       However, Columbia's widening leaves no room to replace the trees, project team members told meeting attendee Linda Day. She responded with disappointment that the tree
New Westside Avenue Action Plan project manager Brett Hartzell (left) and outgoing PM Dennis Barron answer questions from the audience at Coffee with the Contractor.
Westside Pioneer photo
canopy had provided a “cooling effect for that area.”
       Hearing her comment, County Engineer Jennifer Irvine offered to follow up with the Colorado Springs transportation director, to see if any tree-planting possibilities might yet be identified along that segment.
       Also at “Coffee,” Stultz revealed the reopening that day of Ridge Road between Highway 24 and Colorado Avenue, thanks to Wildcat having finished utility and storm drain installations north of Ridge's bridge over Fountain Creek. The ongoing work on Ridge is related to WAAP as well as a separate Wildcat contract for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to permanently change the traffic pattern at the Ridge/24 intersection.
       The latter project is safety-related. Having decided that it's dangerous for Ridge traffic to turn left or go across the highway, CDOT installed temporary barriers at the intersection last year; the Wildcat project is making them permanent.
       The “Coffee” confab included a farewell to project manager Dennis Barron, a 12-year county employee whose previously planned retirement took effect Aug. 31, after which he is moving to Florida. Hartzell, who said he's been transitioning into the post for the past two months, becomes WAAP's third project manager. Barron followed Andre Brackin, who had coordinated a roughly four-year design effort up through the spring of 2016.

Westside Pioneer article
(Projects: Westside Avenue Action Plan)

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