First step toward four-laning South 21st

       The widening of South 21st Street is moving forward, in terms of physical change as well as plans.

Lead Gold Hill Mesa developer Bob Willard (right) and land manager Barry Brinton stand atop an area on the east side of South 21st Street that Gold Hill recently graded into the width necessary for a future project in which the developer will be required to pave 21st Street to allow four traffic lanes. At background right is a monument marking the development's coming access from 21st.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Physically, the Gold Hill Mesa ownership took the initiative this spring to move, compact and level about 20,000 cubic yards of fill dirt from the development to match the grade of the road just north of Lower Gold Camp Road to Villa de Mesa Drive. The road layout in that segment had included concrete barricades along the outer edge of the northbound right lane and drop-offs a few feet east of them to the development below. The new fill leaves space for Gold Hill to rebuild its east side of 21st Street, according to the development's land manager, Barry Brinton..The eventual goal is to give the street four lanes with a median, plus curb, gutter and sidewalks. The city is to fund the western side, although it currently does not have funds to do so.
       Regarding plans, the city has told Gold Hill Mesa that its part of the work will be required in its next phase of building… after Filing 3, which is part of a current application to the city (see story, Page 1). Previously, the city direction had been that the work had to occur when Filing 2B (abutting 21st Street) got approved.
       The new Filing 3 (part of the application) will build off 21st, including areas north and south of the current Villa de Mesa Drive. “I have told the developer that 2B needs to be the next phase that is brought into the city, so if they want to develop in a completely different area on their next round of approvals [after Filing 3] they will need to complete the widening first,” said Kathleen Krager, a senior traffic engineer for the city.
       Brinton said the development ownership has not yet decided where or when the next filing will be. “It's totally dependent on the market,” he said.
       Gold Hill-provided figures show that it currently has 107 homeowners, with sales averaging about four a month. Construction is taking place in Filings 1 and 2. Filings 2A and 2B have been approved but not platted.
       Gold Hill is also still on the hook to widen 21st from Villa de Mesa Drive north to Broadway Street, but “that will not be required until commercial development begins,” Krager said.
       Broadway would become one of two accesses to the yet-to-be-built commercial area at the north end of the project. Wheeler is the other, according to a revised concept plan that Gold Hill has submitted to the city.
       As for the recent Lower Gold Camp-to-Villa de Mesa earthwork, Brinton said the motivation came from having a stockpile of dirt available on site and seeing an advantage in helping define the property's southwest corner sooner rather than later. “How much better it looks, taking out the barricades,” he said.
       Until the four-laning occurs, the new dirt has been drill-seeded so grass will grow, Brinton said.
       Asked to define what 20,000 cubic yards amounts to, Brinton said that a normal dump truck carries 10 cubic yards, so that's the equivalent of 2,000 truckloads.
       He estimated that the dirt movement actually represents 30 to 40 percent of the ultimate cost of widening 21st. “We've built a bench up there, so the only things left are curb and gutter, pavement and landscaping,” he said.

Westside Pioneer article