Contractor pleased with traffic flow after realigned Chestnut Street opens its ‘north leg’
The new Chestnut Street opened all the way through without reported issues Nov. 4.
“It's working very well,” said Leif Neufeld, site superintendent for Blue Ridge Construction. The only “tweaking” was by city traffic engineers on the timing of the Fillmore-Chestnut stoplight to ensure that Fillmore motorists would get more green time at both Chestnut and the I-25 interchange.
The realignment is part of a $7 million Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) project that started over a year ago with the goal of improving traffic flow on Fillmore. Realign-ing Chestnut - to cross Fillmore farther west of the I-25 interchange - has been a major part of the effort.
The opening of the north leg, routed through open land that's to become a commercial center, allows Chestnut traffic to flow straight across Fillmore again (only in a different place). Orange barrels now divide traffic, but that will change as soon as enough warm days allow completion of the last concrete work and the laying and striping of a final “lift” of asphalt, Neufeld explained.
Construction of the south leg was completed last summer. The Fillmore crossing point is where Parker Street used to come north to a T-intersection without a stoplight. As part of the project, Parker has been shortened and turned into a cul-de-sac, with sound walls separating its residential neighborhood from Chestnut's south leg.
Like the “old” Chestnut south of Fillmore, the old Chestnut north of it has been closed off permanently to traffic. Blue Ridge, the RTA project contractor, will soon start laying a large storm drain along that abandoned road section.
Blue Ridge plans to finish all its work in December, he said. However, because that's a month or so later than the original schedule called for - mainly due to work that was added after the project started - landscape plantings that were to wrap up the project will be postponed until the spring, Neufeld said. If shrubs and trees went in now, as winter closes in, the survival rate would be no better than 50 percent, he pointed out.
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