Still a ‘road to nowhere,’ but segment of Centennial Boulevard about to be paved

       A partially completed section of the Centennial Boulevard extension is about to get paved.
       The work will occur between Mesa Valley Road and Van Buren Street, roughly a quarter-mile in all.
       The work does not mean that the road, left partially completed by a since-bankrupted development company, will be opening to the public anytime soon. No part of Centennial south of Fillmore Street is open now. Nor will any access be allowed from the new road to Mesa Valley or Van Buren, according to Lydia Maring of City Engineering.
       The city plans to award a bid for the paving work Friday, July 29 to Even-Preisser for $213,704, she said.
       The contract is for 90 days, and she expects work to start quickly, possibly by Aug. 1. “They will probably start by removing trash,” Maring said. “There's been a lot of dumping up there.”
       The money is coming from a $236,000 bond that was put up by the Continental Divisions company in 2004 when it gained city approval to build a townhome project called Indian Hills Village on 29 acres just east of the extension route. Under a city user-pay calculation, Conti-nental was required to build Centennial (and bond its construction) through its property.
       The reason the paving is occurring now is that the bond-holder was ready to release the funds, and once that happened (early this year) the city was required to get the work done within 12 months, Maring said.
       Another city concern was that over time, because of inflation, the cost to pave it would exceed the amount of the bond. That in fact is what happened with the Even-Preisser contract. The city will realize some savings by mixing in recycled pavement millings, but there still is only enough in the bond to fund four inches of overlay - not the six that the city prefers for a four-lane collector such as Centennial.
       Because it still could be years before the road opens - no connection exists at this time to the north or south - the city plans to wait and look for other sources to fund the extra two inches between now and then, Maring said.
       Before running into money issues, which kept it from building more than 20 of the 80 units it was approved for, Continental Divisions in 2005 graded the portion of Centennial next to the property and put in its streetlights and concrete (curb, gutter and median).
       The road segment has remained like that (plus weeds and trash) ever since.
       The actual Even-Preisser paving work will be from the north side of Centennial's intersection with Van Buren through the Mesa Valley intersection and 400 feet farther north to the property's end.
       No other work besides paving will be done with this contract. So the median will remain incomplete and there will still be no sidewalks.
       Such shortfalls (like the two inches of overlay) will also have to be picked up from future funding sources, Maring said.
       The overall extension plan is to continue Centennial south from Fillmore to the Fontanero interchange at I-25. Area planners believe that will relieve traffic jams, especially at Fillmore and I-25.
       The only other extension segment that's been worked on to date is about a quarter-mile south of Fillmore Street that was completed by Colorado Springs Health Partners about four years ago. That segment remains closed off because Health Partners never went forward with building plans on its 44-acre site. However, a change there is expected by at least 2014, when the federal Department of Veterans Affairs plans to build and open a VA clinic.
       South of Van Buren, the MVS development group is considering a residential subdivision on 47 acres straddling the extension. A tentative agreement with the city calls on MVS to build the road through part of its property, as well as 500 feet that's missing at the northern end between the Health Partners and Indian Hills segments. The final half-mile or so between MVS and Fontanero/I-25 could be covered by Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) funds, assuming voters approve an extension of the one-cent RTA tax between now and 2014, planners have said.
       Other Indian Hills bonds posted by Continental Divisions included $161,000 for upgrades to Mesa Valley Road and Van Buren Street. Discussions have taken place with the bond company on releasing those bonds, but an agreement has not yet been finalized, Maring said.

Westside Pioneer article