Design for Camp Creek’s 1,200-foot-long culvert/bridge in draft transportation plan

       Most people have heard about long-range plans to expand the 31st Street intersection at Highway 24, replace its bridge over Fountain Creek, upgrade parts of Colorado Avenue west of 31st and someday even upgrade the Camp Creek ditch through Pleasant Valley.

During recent weeks of low rainfall, just a trickle of water runs down the Camp Creek ditch between the two sides of 31st Street and into this culvert (technically a bridge) that goes under Bijou Street and continues for 1,200 feet before emptying into Fountain Creek. The city's estimated cost to design a replacement is over $1.6 million.
Westside Pioneer photo

       But until recently, another piece of infrastructure in that area - which is directly or indirectly tied in with all of the above - nearly got “overlooked,” according to City Acting Roadway Engineer Mike Chaves.
       That's the 1,200-foot-long culvert which, carrying the drainage from Camp Creek, ducks under 31st at Bijou Street and stays there all the way south to Fountain Creek. Along the way, it also passes under the intersections of Pikes Peak Avenue and Colorado Avenue. Technically a bridge, it's the longest of its kind in the city, according to Aaron Egbert, project manager for the city's bridge program.
       The culvert is 25 feet wide at its arch-shaped base and 8 feet, 2 inches at its highest point. Although installed 52 years ago, it is not currently failing, Chaves said. However, he added, the steel material is probably rusting and the culvert has been deemed “undersized for the 100-year storm event.”
       The city wants to have a design for a new bridge ready so that actual construction “can be done in conjunction with other projects,” Chaves said. To get to that point, the city sees the need to hire a consultant to analyze the storm basin, draw up a design and secure environmental clearances. “It's an expensive venture, and we will get public involvement,” he said.
       As a sign of the bridge's new priority, funding to design its replacement has been added to the region's draft Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) for 2013 to 2018.
       Citizen feedback on these and other proposed additions to the TIP is being sought through Sept. 9 by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG). The regional planning agency's board of directors (consisting of elected officials from local governments) is scheduled to vote on the TIP at its next monthly meeting Sept. 12.
       The TIP is a list of projects for which regional officials have a reasonable expectation that funding will be available, according to City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager.
       The Camp Creek bridge/culvert design cost, as shown in the draft TIP, totals $1,312,000 in federal surface transportation (STP) funds for the years 2014 and 2015. These funds would be combined with city matching funds to cover an overall cost of $1,640,000, the draft TIP states.
       (The item is listed in the draft TIP as “31st Street Bridge over Camp Creek Replacement.” Chaves and Egbert said they did not know why it's written to sound like construction.)
       Although Camp Creek flooding issues would be part of the study for a replacement culvert, the latter project would be separate from upgrades of the ditch itself as it runs through the Pleasant Valley neighborhood. When the city still had its Stormwater Enterprise (and fees to pay for it), the PV segment had been slated for a $13 million overhaul. That plan has since been shelved, although Egbert pointed out that a new bridge at Water Street (priced at $1,243,000) is a B item among the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) projects that will seek voter approval in November.
       The draft 2013-18 TIP lists more than 65 line items in all, of which 39 are proposed to be added.
       For more information, go to ppacg.org or call 471-7080 x139.
       Other projects proposed in the draft TIP for the Westside are titled:
  • “West Uintah Street Corridor Improvements.” City staffers have begun identifying possible widening and intersection improvements, along with bicycling enhancements between Walnut and 30th streets. Total cost estimate: $2,400,000 (aided by $1,920,000 in STP funds. Project year: 2016.
  • “Colorado Avenue Planning and Preliminary Design.” Proposed by El Paso County, this would be a more technical follow-on to the current study of needed upgrades to the “No Man's Land” segment of the avenue west of 31st Street. Total cost estimate: $750,000 (aided by $620,000 in STP funds). Project year: 2014.
           Westside items that are carryovers on the TIP are:
  • “Golden Lane Road Bridge Replacement” - replacing the 63-year-old span over Fountain Creek on the short street that runs between Colorado Avenue and the Fountain Creek RV Park. Total cost estimate: $644,000 (aided by a $515,000 federal grant). Project year: 2013.
  • “US 24 West Corridor.” There are two items that have this title. Both relate to future work on the state's Highway 24 expansion project for which an environmental assessment has been submitted to the federal government, although precise use of the funding has not yet been determined, according to Dave Watt, engineer with the Colorado Department of Transportation. Total cost estimate (for both): $16 million (covered by $2,753,600 in state funds and $13,246,400 in federal funds). Project years: 2013, 2016 and 2017.

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