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An aerial-photo rendering shows how the Centennial extension could look. The view is to the northwest, with the intersection at Chestnut Street (which is to have stoplights) in the lower foreground. From there, the extension would follow (to some degree) the current layout of Fontanero, with the new route starting around the curve (Sondermann Park to the left) and heading north. Mesa Springs homes are at center/right and the houses on the Mesa around Broadview Place at upper left.
Courtesy of City Engineering

Centennial extension entering final design; neighborhood park access still issue

Ryan Weaver (right), an engineer with AECOM, a city consultant, illustrates the future Centennial extension's expected right of way area by striding across it in mid-August, during a guided hike in which any interested citizens were welcome to participate. The photo looks south, with Mesa Creek (which also flows into neighboring Sondermann Park) paralleling the right of way in the trees to the right. The location is about a quarter-mile north of where the road is planned to curve into the current Fontanero Street. The other guided hiking group that day can be seen in the background.
Westside Pioneer photo
After hosting a public meeting about the plan and a hike along the route this summer, city and consulting engineers are transitioning into the final-design stage for the city's Centennial Boulevard extension from Van Buren Street to the Fontanero/I-25 interchange.
       The planned segment will travel through a wide valley east of Mesa Creek and west of the older Mesa Springs neighborhood. At the south end, it will link up with Fontanero, which currently dead ends at the top of a hill, just over a quarter-mile west of the interchange.
       The city sees the extension as a relatively low-speed four-lane road (speed limit 35 mph) that will relieve traffic on Fillmore and Chestnut streets. At the same time, the engineers want to minimize the new road's impact on the adjacent neighborhoods as well as on the natural terrain that the extension passes through.
       A longstanding request from the Mesa Springs Community Association has been to retain the neighborhood's direct pedestrian access to Sondermann Park. Aaron Egbert, the project manager for City Engineering, said the project team is “working through” that issue, but does not yet have a solution.
       He pointed out two complications:
       1 - The current Fontanero Street is a two-lane dead-end. This lets Sondermann-bound Mesa Springs residents easily walk up Fontanero or cross it via Seventh Street. But the preliminary extension design shows an expressway-style layout, with no designated crossing point.
       2 - Extensive cut-and-fill is planned at the top of Fontanero. The plan is to cut through that high point so that the new road will wind up 15 feet or so below
A preliminary-design aerial view/drawing of the project area includes notes and comments about related aspects, including the conceptually planned MVS residential project, future detention ponds and intent to make the project less intrusive. North is to the right. The inset at lower right represents how the two lanes each way would be separated by a median and landscaping and have a trail/walkway on either side, plus bike lanes.
Courtesy of City Engineering
Seventh Street (which now crosses Fontanero but will be turned into a cul-de-sac on either side).
       The extension will include a Chestnut/ Fontanero stoplight (it now has stop signs) and another at the interchange. One point of view is that pedestrians/cyclists could cross at the Chestnut light, go south a block and get to Sondermann by way of Espanola Street.
       Other extension-related public concerns include traffic, noise, diminished scenery, post-project restoration and effects on nearby Sondermann Park, Mesa Creek (although the road will be outside its flood plain) and area wildlife.
       On the whole, Egbert said, referring to the mid-August public hike, which attracted more than 50 citizens (and required two separate groups) and was guided by engineers, “I was very happy with how the project design looked in the field. We also received positive feedback from some attendees.”
       The schedule calls for completing the design this year, then breaking ground in 2017 and continuing construction into 2018.
       As presented, the extension will have a median (landscaped in its southern portion), with on-street bike lanes, a sidewalk and a trail.
       For project costs, $10.45 million was set aside under the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority in 2012. The final cost could be higher, Egbert said, but “a lot of things need to be figured out” before a true estimate can be made. “It's way too early to say we're over budget.”
       The extension was first proposed in the 1980s all the way from Fillmore and Fontanero. In the last 10 years, the portion from Fillmore to Van Buren (except for a short gap) has been built by private developers in separate projects.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 9/5/16; Transportation: Major Roads)

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