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Reduced scope for 2 remaining Westside RTA 'A' projects

       Two Westside locations remaining from the original Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) A-list have had their project plans reduced in scope, but will get some improvements in the coming year.
       Mike Chaves of City Engineering provided updates this week. The locations are the 25th Street bridge over Fountain Creek at Naegele Road and the intersection of Garden of the Gods Road and Chestnut Street.
       In the 2004 election, voters were assured that the A-list projects would all be accomplished in the 2005-2014 time frame.
       Going into that election, conceptual analyses had called for replacing the 100-year-old, two-lane bridge at 25th Street with a new one (estimated cost $350,000) and for upgrading at the GoG/Chestnut intersection to improve traffic flow and safety (estimate: $375,000). Over the years, RTA had adjusted those costs for inflation to $500,000 and $522,000, respectively.
       Here is what the current plans call for:
  • 25th Street bridge - Rehabilitating the existing bridge at an expected cost of $240,000. It wasn't until a few years after the '04 election that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) finalized long- range plans for widening Highway 24 that would eliminate Naegele Road altogether, and potentially the bridge with it. However, CDOT's Highway 24 study includes an “aesthetic” element suggesting a pedestrian highway overpass (to be funded locally) which could make use of a bridge over the creek at that location.
           Adding to the city's thinking is the probability that the CDOT project itself is about 20 years away, Chaves said. As a result, “a new bridge is no longer needed.”
           In 2004, the current bridge, which gets light traffic, had been rated at 48 out of 100 on a scale that recommends replacement at 50.
  • Chestnut Street/Garden of the Gods - An $87,000 study last year concluded that major work at the intersection - one possibility that got a long look was a right-turn-only lane from southbound Chestnut - would not be cost-effective. “The issue we found was that along Garden of the Gods, where movement failures are happening, we'd need dual left-turn lanes and dedicated right turns at all of them,” Chaves said. “It would be a multimillion-dollar project, and that's not what the voters intended.”
           Although details are still being finalized, the work that is planned at GoG/Chestnut will include a change in the visibility of the stoplights (putting them on mast arms instead of the current span wires) and some sidewalk and pedestrian ramp improvements, he said. Although it's possible that the final costs will be less than the budgeted $522,000, Chaves said he thought it would be premature at this time to say so.

    Westside Pioneer article
    (Posted 2/13/14)

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