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Centennial Boulevard reconstruction project could start by end of August

City Engineering Manager Mike Chaves (second from left) looks at a map with members of the public during the open house for the Centennial Boulevard reconstruction project June 30 in the Jackson Elementary gym/cafeteria.
Westside Pioneer photo
The Centennial Boulevard reconstruction project, predicted earlier this year to start in June, is nearing a groundbreaking date.
       According to Ryan Phipps, the city's project manager, the city and contractor (Kiewit Infrastructure) “are currently working through some utility coordination issues before Kiewit starts. We all need to be on the same page before Kiewit starts pulling the old pavement up. There is a high-pressure gas line and an electrical transmission line in the roadway that Kiewit will need to be especially careful around during the reconstruction of the roadway.”
       Based on his new estimate, work could start before the end of August. The June start prediction had been offered by the city at a public meeting last January; a July estimate had come out of the public meeting in June.
       The city has divided the project (between Garden of the Gods Road and Fillmore Street) into three phases. This year Kiewit will take on Phase 1, with the goal of fixing the 2,200-foot segment from GoG Road to Chesham Circle (just south of Douglas Creek).
       However, because the project is starting later in the summer than originally hoped and because it includes redoing the road base, Phipps said he's not yet certain whether the entire Phase 1 can be completed this fall before the weather gets too cold for paving. If so, temporary asphalt will be put down so that four lanes of traffic will remain available through the winter, he said.
       Plans call for Phases 2 (Chesham to Windmill Avenue) and Phase 3 (Windmill to Fillmore), which have fewer road-base problems, to be fixed in 2017.
A poster at the June 30 open house on the Centennial Boulevard reconstruction states the project's main goals.
Westside Pioneer photo of City Engineering graphic
An issue for those who live around Centennial (mainly north of Windmill) has been whether to retain the center medians in that area. City engineers have reported problems with drainage and maintenance, and some residents have complained they're a nuisance, forcing too many U-turns (which can lead to rear-end collisions). However, some residents think the medians are aesthetic, slow traffic and help people crossing the street, especially kids going to school.
       Phipps said the final decision on medians, after listening to the differing input at a public meeting in late June, is as follows:
       - Keep the median from GoG Road to Chesham Circle.
       - Remove it between Chesham and Windmill.
       - Keep it from Windmill to Rialto Heights (the access to the Camelback Apartments). The overall effect will be a kind of “gateway” at either end of the neighborhood along Centennial, Phipps said.
       - Remove the median in front of the King Soopers strip mall and office buildings.
       To discourage cars from going too fast, the speed limit will be reduced from 40 to 35 mph, he added.
       Another issue for the reconstruction project has been cost. When voters renewed the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) sales tax in 2012, it was one of the RTA's A-list projects, priced at just over $8 million. But now the estimate is $12 million.
       “That estimate was done about 5 years ago and before the design was started,” Phipps said. The higher number became evident “once we completed the design and used current construction costs.”
       The additional funding will come primarily through unanticipated revenue collected by the RTA tax because of a “booming economy,” he explained. However, as a rule, he added, such a revenue windfall can be offset by the fact that “construction costs tend to rise” during “boom” times.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/10/16, updated 8/11/16; Transportation: Major Roads)

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