Old Town paving to straddle weekend(s)
Crews working on Colorado Avenue could finish to 24th Street by Sept. 10

       “Just get it done”… but not on weekends.
       This was the message from Old Colorado City merchants at a meeting Sept. 5 with city officials in charge of paving Colorado Avenue.
       Depending on weather or equipment factors, work through the commercial district will begin Tuesday, Sept. 11 (or possibly the day before), and finish Sept. 19. There will be seven actual workdays - three days of millling and four of paving,
       City Streets went into the meeting proposing to shorten the time frame by putting in 12-hour days on the weekend of Sept. 15-16. The city dropped that idea when representatives of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group objected - particularly because weekend work would interfere with the start of its annual Scarecrow Days promotion Saturday, Sept. 15. Another weekend opponent on hand was Frank Schmidt, representing the Saturday Farmers' Market next to Bancroft Park.
       The work will culminate an avenue project between Walnut and 30th streets in which the street is being milled, then given a two-inch overlay. The project started the last week of August at Walnut and has moved west toward 24th Street. A city/merchants meeting was called for the 24th-to-30th segment, mainly because of the impacts on Old Colorado City (which is between 24th and 27th).
       The times of the work on weekdays were not finalized at the meeting. Merchants wanted an earlier start (7 a.m.) to ensure that the milling will be done before the weekend, while city officials said they needed to get clearance from Traffic Engineering to get going sooner than 9 a.m. (because of potential rush-hour traffic congestion). The work-ending time was also not established at the meeting, but could be between 3 and 5 p.m.
       There will still be inconveniences. Merchants were told that the milling will cause some vibrations, dust and noise. “Items could dance and work their way off shelves,” said Tom Brown, project manager for city contractor Schmidt Construction.
       Two merchants at the meeting, Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group President Jim Heikes and board member Charles Irwin, were irked about the city law that project-related no-parking designations must be put on parking meters three days before they take effect. Irwin said he's seen people drive away from spaces in front of his store after seeing such markings and not reading the fine print. Heikes' proposed solution was to add a localized sign to those meters, saying “Today's OK.” The city officials said this was all right.
       Traffic will be kept open with one lane each way during work times and will go back to two lanes each way on weekends, said Bard Lower, one of the City Streets operations managers.
       No curb and gutter work is included in the project, except on the north side of the 2300 block, because of the need to cap off an old storm sewer line, he said.

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