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Approaching the Highway 24 interchange, an eastbound view shows the alignment of Manitou Avenue, which will be changed in a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) project this fall. The median (both striped and raised) will remain, but there will be only one lane each way, plus a shoulder on either side. An eastbound bike lane will start a short distance west of the interchange, plans show. Bike lanes will not exist farther west on the avenue because Manitou prefers to use the space there for on-street parking, according to Randy Johnson of CDOT.
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Manitou Avenue's 2-laning to be extended eastward in fall CDOT project

       New pavement, improved drainage and more gently sloped pedestrian ramps comprise the main impetus of the roadwork starting in late September near Manitou Springs' Highway 24 interchange.
       Another visible result of the $2.4 million Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) project will be an extension of the Manitou Avenue two-laning alignment
Anyone walking eastbound currently on the south side of Manitou Avenue will find an end to the sidewalk at this point, a few hundred feet east of the avenue's Highway 24 interchange (in front of the recreational marijuana store's overflow parking). No new sidewalk is to be built in the scheduled September-November Colorado Department of Transportation project. However, the separate Westside Avenue Action Plan project, due to start this winter, calls for continuous sidewalk connecting with this location.
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(one lane each way, plus a center lane). At project's end, scheduled for the end of November, this will continue east from about Mayfair Avenue to a point 300 feet east of the interchange (a distance of about a half-mile), plans show.
       Replacing the existing four-lane style, the restriping will “tie into” the separate Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) project, which is due to start this winter along Manitou/Colorado Avenue, according to Monica Ramey, a spokesperson for both projects.
       The WAAP plan also calls for two-laning Manitou/Colorado Avenue the same way from the 300-foot point east to about 33rd Street. That segment currently has four lanes (two each way, without turn lanes).
       Currently there is no project to two-lane the avenue east of 33rd; however, under the leadership of Old Colorado City property owners and merchants, a concept plan has been drawn up for two lanes (with bike lanes but no center lane) between 24th and 27th streets. They hope to complete the public process for it by 2017.
       In the CDOT/Manitou project, CDOT agreed to extend the two-laning after a request from Manitou Springs city officials last year. Because such was already planned for the WAAP segment, Manitou Mayor Marc Snyder “asked that we do this layout on our overlay project so that there was a consistent striping layout from downtown Manitou Springs,” explained CDOT project engineer Randy Johnson.
       CDOT has maintenance responsibility for the avenue west of the 300-foot point. El Paso County took over the WAAP segment from CDOT - for cash considerations and in conjunction with that project - over a year ago.
       Manitou's original avenue two-lane plan (between Mayfair and Minnehaha Avenue) took effect in 2004, with the stated goal of slowing traffic to help businesses and improve safety.
       Two-laning the WAAP segment was proposed in 2012 by officials for the three governments funding the project (Manitou, Colorado Springs and El Paso County), along with their consulting engineers. Similar reasons were given, with plans showing the saved road width being allotted to bicycle lanes and sidewalks. Public meetings between 2012 and 2014 aroused no major citizen opposition to the two-lane plan; however, the bicycle element was never specifically brought up.
       Those who have spoken out against the lane reduction have warned that traffic will move too slowly and the alignment may prove hazardous in an emergency.
       Estimated to cost about $20 million to plan and build, WAAP also includes a bridge replacement, major utility work, creek upgrades and reworking of the Columbia and Ridge intersections.
      
The westbound-facing City of Manitou Springs welcome sign is seen from its eastbound side, looking east along Manitou Avenue. The avenue changes to West Colorado Avenue on the Colorado Springs side. The configuration here, about a half-mile east of the photo above, shows the current four lanes with no turn lanes. The Westside Avenue Action Plan project, due to start this winter and continue into 2018, is slated to change the alignment to one lane each way, with a center lane and a bike lane on either side, plus sidewalks.
Westside Pioneer photo
Bike lanes are being striped as part of the Manitou/CDOT project, but they will not continue west of the interchange. This is because Manitou prefers to use the avenue space there for on-street parking, according to Randy Johnson of CDOT.
       The project scope is between Deer Path Avenue and the aforementioned 300-foot point east of the interchange. As part of the work, Garden of the Gods Place between El Paso Boulevard and Manitou Avenue will close through Oct. 28, according to information on the CDOT project website. Intermittent avenue lane closures can also be expected.
       “Repairs will be made to the concrete deck of the bridge structure located on Garden of the Gods Place,” the CDOT website states. “Drainage improvements will be installed at the intersection of Manitou Avenue and Garden of the Gods Place.”
       The paving work will involve a two-inch mill (deeper in some places, as needed, Johnson said) and two inches of new asphalt.
       The concrete work will focus on curb-and-gutter and 30 new pedestrian ramps, built to meet modern specifications that require a gentler slope for wheelchairs. No new sidewalk is being built. “We're just replacing what we have to take out,” Johnson said.
       The contractor is Kiewit Infrastructure Co., which also has the bid for the ongoing rebuild of Centennial Boulevard between Fillmore Street and Garden of the Gods Road in Colorado Springs. Kiewit's $2.4 million CDOT/Manitou contract also includes a simultaneous project at the west end of Manitou, affecting Serpentine Drive. The website is
https://www.codot.gov/projects/us-24-east-manitou-springs-overlay.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 9/22/16; Transportation: Major Roads)

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