By Sandy Barnes
While recently reviewing a roundabout design dating from 2000, trustees asked if the long-delayed project planned for the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 287 and State Hwy. 56 would begin next year.
“A lot has happened, but still no dirt turned here,” said Public Works Director Tony Huerta while discussing the issue at the Dec. 2 Board meeting. “I am very confident that we will be completing the design very shortly,” he said. Once it is completed, the project can go out for bid, he added.
Trustee Jeff Hindman said he was concerned about delays in the project from a public image standpoint. “I would like to know what happened in 2007 and ’08 to keep it from [being] built,” he said.
Huerta explained that years of delays have been created by difficulties in getting easements to construct the roundabout and by numerous revisions to the plan. “We ran into obstacles that were not in our control,” he said.
“We have encountered several changes,” Huerta continued. “CDOT requested a peer review. That delayed the process and revisions had to be made.”
After an initial study and report done by Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig in 2000, the Town and the Colorado Department of Transportation determined a roundabout was preferable to a signalized intersection. In 2004, the Town and CDOT entered into a contract recommending the roundabout, and Muller Engineering was hired to design it.
Since that time, modifications have been made to accommodate large trucks that would be negotiating the roundabout.
Also, while most easements have been obtained, Huerta said that two on corner properties have pending agreements.
Related issues with ditches along the site of the roundabout have added to the complexity of the project. Huerta said that CDOT has a process of identifying the history of ditch users, even though one appears not to have been used for a number of years.
During his remarks, Hindman said he would like to see flashing lights at crosswalks connected with roundabout for the safety of pedestrians. He also said he would like to see drainage problems on First Street corrected while building the crosswalk.
“We would have to fund it through a revenue source,” replied Huerta.
In the 2009 Town budget, about $1.6 million has been designated for the roundabout using road impact fees and MPO funding as the revenue sources.