No Man's Land update: Utility relocations this winter to kick off major 2-year project
She said a process has begun to hire a construction manager to oversee the multi-faceted, 1.3-mile endeavor between 31st and Manitou's Highway 24 interchange. (Note that this work is separate from a paving, sidewalk and drainage project by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) around that interchange, starting in the latter part of September.)
When hired, probably in October, the construction manager will coordinate with the county on selecting the actual project contractor (planned to happen by late November). The manager will then oversee the contractor's efforts as the project
This "oversight" approach is similar, she said in an interview, to how Wilson & Co. has assisted the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) in quality assurance during the I-25 interchange projects at Fillmore and Cimarron.
The county is the lead player in the No Man's Land project, which also involves Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities and Manitou Springs.
At present, property acquisitions - most of them minor and many just temporary easements - are continuing along the affected part of the avenue and the final design is “not quite at 100 percent,” Irvine said.
In line with this view is the county's project manager, Dennis Barron. “We could conceivably mobilize by the end of the year,” he said at an early-September
The project cost and schedule - roughly a two-year span is predicted - are also not yet finalized, but should tighten up once a contractor is on board, Irvine explained.
With the bulk of the funding coming from $12.5 million approved by voters from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA), the available budget is just over $16 million, but project engineers have previously predicted that it will need to be higher. Speaking at the same OWN meeting, County Commissioner Sallie Clark put the latest estimates at around $20 million, but added that the RTA - which is reporting higher than previously estimated revenues from its capital sales tax - could be asked to make up the difference.
The final design stage follows the Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) study, which started in 2012 and included several public meetings between 2012 and '14. Clark recalled that her efforts to get a project going (in conjunction with Marcy Morrison of Manitou Springs) date back another decade.
The project area has earned the “no man's land” nickname, largely because of neglect in past years by its multiple government jurisdictions (the county and the two cities, plus CDOT), along with minimal private redevelopment over many decades. At the recent OWN meeting, WAAP design consultant Steve Murray observed that the work will be replacing “nearly 100-year-old infrastructure,” with the heaviest concentration occurring between Columbia and Ridge roads.
The thinking is that the improvements will revitalize the mostly commercial segment of road, which is roughly halfway between the historic districts of Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs.
Major changes will include:
· Underground utilities and storm drains (electric lines and stormwater runoff are aboveground now).
· A new bridge over Fountain Creek at Columbia.
· Stoplights at Columbia and at Ridge.
· Ridge Road closed off between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues.
· A trail or bike “plaza” in the space that's available as a result of that small one-block closure.
· A rerouted (and completed) Midland Trail, including an underpass of Colorado Avenue at Columbia Road.
· Continuous sidewalks on either side of the avenue.
· A thousand feet of major creek improvements (near the bridge).
· A narrowing from the current four lanes with no turn lanes to two lanes with a middle lane.
The latter issue was discussed at some length during the public meetings, which were particularly focused on “stakeholders” (people who lived, worked or owned businesses in that area). “Stakeholders preferred the 3-lane option,” states the project website, westsideavenueplan.com, “because it better regulates vehicle speeds, improves traffic safety with the addition of a dedicated left turn lane (designed to reduce accidents primarily caused by cars stopping to make left turns..., safely accommodates pedestrians and bicycle traffic and provides room for amenities stakeholders identified as important considerations reflecting the community values they identified.”
Another public meeting will be held at some point after the contractor is hired, Irvine said.
Westside Pioneer article