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The initial improvements in the El Paso County paving project between 31st Street and Highway 24 involved milling and paving just west of 31st. This photo looks across from the south side of the avenue.
Westside Pioneer photo

Overlay on 31st-to-24 avenue segment prelude to coming major project

An eastbound car drives past a pothole and pavement cracks along West Colorado Avenue near Columbia Road. The location is within the avenue road segment that's scheduled for an overlay project, starting Aug. 25.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Update, Sept. 3: The milling/paving work described in the initial story below has been rescheduled for completion after Labor Day. The new date, according to county officials, is Sept. 11 (weather-dependent), with the project put on pause during the holiday weekend and picking up again Sept. 9.

       Initial story, Aug. 18: About a year from now, County Engineer Andre Brackin expects that the “No Man's Land” segment of West Colorado Avenue will start being seriously dug up for a major, long-anticipated infrastructure project.
       But for now, with about 15,000 vehicles a day driving the four-lane, 1.4-mile stretch between 31st Street and Manitou's Highway 24 interchange, “it's rutting so bad, we can't let it go into winter with a chance of getting worse,” he said in an interview.
       As a result, a pavement overlay project is scheduled to start there Tuesday, Aug. 25 and be completed before Saturday, Sept. 5 of Labor Day weekend. During the work, traffic will continue in both directions, Brackin said, but will be reduced to one lane each way at times. Anyone with questions can call the county at 520- 6891.
       The $275,00 funding is coming from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) maintenance budget. Rocky Mountain Asphalt is the contractor.
       The cost is about half the normal overlay cost for such a distance, Brackin pointed out, because the asphalt thickness (at just over one inch) will be less than the two and a half inches that's typical for permanent jobs.
       The work will include first removing old pavement and milling the underlying road surface, he said.
       The idea is to hold off the avenue's deterioration at least until the big project starts. “I'd hate to see it get worse, which it would,” Brackin said. “This will also keep us from having to go out and do constant patching This is not throwing good money after bad.”
       At one point, the county was leaning toward a chipseal overlay by country crews, which would have been even cheaper, “but with the amount of traffic, we knew it wouldn't last a year,” he said.
       Brackin is also the lead engineer on the No Man's Land infrastructure project, planning for which has moved forward since 2012 under the working title, Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP). Additionally involving Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities, that project will include replacement and relocation of utilities and storm drains, a slightly realigned roadway necked down to three lanes, a new bridge at Columbia Road (Adams Crossing), completion of the Midland Trail, sidewalks and other amenities. It is budgeted at around $15 million, as an RTA A-list project.
       WAAP work had once been slated to start in earnest this fall, but complications related to higher costs and utility issues have pushed things back to December. That's when “90 percent design drawings” for the project are due for completion, Brackin said.
       Partly in conjunction with WAAP, the county took over formal responsibility on the 31st-to-24 section from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) last February. By having it in local hands, Brackin has said it will be maintained more effectively, going forward.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/18/15, updated 9/3/15; Transportation: Major Roads)

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