Changes at Hwy 24/31st St. in ‘07

       While discussions continue on Westside Highway 24's long-term future, Colorado Springs Traffic engineers this year will realign the intersection of 31st Street and Highway 24 in hopes of easing the traffic flow now.
       The two major changes will be an extra lane for the southbound 31st Street traffic and a change in stoplight timing to let southbound and northbound vehicles go at the same time, according to Steve Fagan of City Traffic Engineering.
       The $150,000 project will be funded as a Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) “small improvement project.” After the design was approved by the state late last year, the RTA board approved a contract with Trax Construction to do the work at its Jan. 10 meeting. Construction is expected to begin this spring.
       Details on the intersection work follow:
       Extra southbound lane on 31st. Currently there is one lane for left turns only and another lane for left, straight-ahead and right turns. The new configuration will have two lanes for left turns only and a third for straight ahead or right turns. To accomplish this, the median on that side of the intersection will be moved east about 10 feet, Fagan said. Part of this structural alteration will include lining up the left turns on both sides of 31st Street, he added.
       Stoplight timing. Currently there are separate cycles for Highway 24 traffic, southbound 31st and northbound 31st. Having both directions of 31st go simultaneously will mean the lights changing sooner, thus leaving less time for traffic to back-up, Fagan explained. The main problem now is at southbound 31st.
       A side effect is when cars fill up the left/right/through lane to the point where they block the right turn west onto Highway 24.
       When that happens, vehicles sometimes back up almost to Colorado Avenue. “With the concurrent left, the intersection will clear and give us more room for through traffic and right turns,” Fagan said.
       The stoplight timing change is also intended to help the “signal progression” along Highway 24, he said.
       Other upgrades. These will include improvements to the radius of the right turns from 31st onto the highway in both directions (in part to handle commercial trucks) and a small retaining wall on the southwest corner “because we're taking a little more area there,” Fagan said.

Westside Pioneer article