City, RTA plan avenue overlay from Walnut to 31st Street later in year

       City Council member Randy Purvis says he really was just thinking about the eastbound lane of Colorado Avenue between 22nd and 27th streets when he urged at a council meeting last month that the city find money for repairs.
       But after City Street Division officials looked at the road, they decided a full overlay between Walnut and 31st streets is necessary, according to interviews this week with Saleem Khattak, Street Division manager, and Bill Moritz, division program supervisor.
       The estimated $345,544 project would also include a segment just east of the interstate, between Sawatch Street and Pikes Peak Avenue, Khattak noted.
       No timeline for the project has been established, but he predicted it would occur before the end of October. Knowing that Colorado Avenue is a busy street, Moritiz said the city would try to do the work expediently, “so it won't affect a lot of people for a long period of time.”
       The money will come from excess 2006 revenues in the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) budget, City Public Works Director Ron Mitchell told City Council at its informal meeting June 11. No vote was taken by council, but when Mayor Lionel Rivera asked for objections, no member spoke up.
       Final approval came at the RTA board meeting two days later.
       Khattak and Moritz elaborated after the council meeting that the Street Division estimate is based on the typical cost to overlay that amount of roadway; however, other variables - including the extent of surface-preparation work and depth of asphalt - could change it. With the project having only just been approved, such details are not yet known, they pointed out.
       After the June 11 council meeting, Purvis said that over the winter, on the above-noted parts of the avenue, he had seen “a lot of cratering and an alligator appearance, identical to problems identified at the north end of town.” Constituents had also complained to him about it, and after looking into it he believed it would be prudent to fix those areas soon before a major reconstruction was needed.
       After Purvis' comments to council in May, Khattak said that street crews went out and patched the problems he had identified. In the process, they found “other deficiencies,” he said, leading to the decision to expand the project scope.
       Colorado Avenue was last overlaid six years ago with a one-inch overlay that had been expected to last only three years. “It's held up surprisingly well,” Moritz said. The street was due for resurfacing in the near future, but had not made the priority list till now because other streets have been even worse, Khattak said.
       Khattak described the avenue as “different” from other roads. One of the oldest in the region, it has old streetcar lines and crumbling concrete, along with sometimes shallow utility vaults, groundwater seepage and (according to Moritz) an unexplained box culvert in different places below its surface.
       Asked if another complication might be the secret tunnels that used to run between the (good) north side of the avenue in Old Colorado City to the (bad) south side, Khattak said, “I hope we don't have to go that deep.”

Westside Pioneer article