RTA to show new Fillmore design

       An updated design for a project to relieve Fillmore Street traffic will be presented at a public meeting in the Coronado High cafeteria, 1590 W. Filllmore St., Tuesday, Aug. 30.
       Scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m., the meeting will be hosted by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA), which will be funding the work as one of its 2004 voter-approved “A” projects. Plans will be on display, with representatives of the RTA, the city and the preliminary design consultant (the URS Corp) available to answer questions. A presentation is to start at 5:30.
       The RTA/city plan is to realign Chestnut Street at Fillmore. Currently Chest-nut crosses Fillmore immediately west of the I-25 interchange so that its stoplights are in the same cycle as those on the interstate ramps. By having Chestnut cross Fillmore Street about 400 feet farther west - where Parker Street is now - traffic flow at the interchange will be improved, city and RTA officials believe.
       Project construction is expected to start in summer 2012, according to RTA project manager Lesley Mace.
       At the meeting, attendees will see a “refined layout” similar to the conceptual version that was presented at an RTA public forum last December, with some changes reflecting engineering scrutiny, she explained.
       Prominent among these is a proposed road-layout change requiring the removal of seven houses south of Fillmore Street, instead of the three or four anticipated at the conceptual stage. The property owners will be paid fair market value. All have been talked to, and all seven “are willing acquisitions at this time,” Mace said.
       The added house removals are necessary because the RTA and city agreed that the conceptual alignment south of Fillmore was “too abrupt,” Mace said; more space is needed to “lessen the grade” of Chestnut Street as it swings uphill to Parker.
       Five of the houses are on Parker (east side only) and two more are on Chestnut (west side).
       The residents in the remaining 24 houses on Parker will find themselves living in a cul de sac, accessible only from Taylor Street, Mace explained.
       The two houses on Chestnut Street are just south of five lots that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) had bought in 2004. CDOT had done so, along with removing the houses on the lots, in preparation for a Chestnut realignment similar to what the RTA is planning now.
       Overall, the new alignment will curve Chestnut northwest to hit Fillmore where Parker Street does now, then continue across that intersection through currently undeveloped private land before curving northeast back to the present-day Chestnut alignment.
       The difference from the RTA plan is that CDOT saw the need to move Chestnut west in conjunction with putting in a new, bigger Fillmore/I-25 interchange, as defined in the federally approved environmental assessment (EA) that led to the I-25 widening project (called COSMIX) through inner Colorado Springs from 2005 to 2007. No Fillmore-interchange funds were available for COSMIX, nor have any surfaced since. Still, this year, in a decision that moves along both the Fillmore and future-interchange projects, CDOT agreed to buy the properties at the northwest and southwest corners of the present-day Fillmore and Chestnut intersection where gas stations now operate.
       The actual cost of the Fillmore project will not be known until a construction contract is let out, but the RTA has budgeted $6.7 million for the work, including right of way acquisition.
       According to a city press release, materials for the Aug. 30 meeting will be posted, as available, on a city website link at springsgov.com/Page.aspx?NavID=4076.

Westside Pioneer article