CIVIC PROJECTS:
Fillmore/I-25 interchange, Uintah sharrows work to start this fall

       A contractor will be hired by late September for the new interchange at Fillmore Street and I-25, with work likely to start shortly thereafter, according to Don Garcia, the project's manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
       Based on a bid-submittal deadline of Aug. 21, CDOT needs about a month to make a hiring decision and finalize details with the low bidder, he explained.
       The project, finally funded last year after more than a decade of local effort, is budgeted at $13 million.
       Garcia could not say exactly when construction would begin. “I'd say October, to be safe,” Garcia said. “It depends on how quickly the contractor gets his paperwork done.”
       The project's duration has been estimated at 14-16 months. The new interchange's bridges will be built beside the existing structure, so that Fillmore traffic over the interstate will not be cut off during construction.
       The Fillmore/I-25 project will replace the old interchange (built more than 50 years ago), improve and/or extend the ramps and tie in with the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority project last year that realigned Chestnut Street.
       The project will feature a relatively new type of layout, called a diverging diamond, in which traffic will switch to opposite sides while going over the bridge, allowing safer left turns, according to engineering studies.
      
       After a bike-lane project last year between Walnut Street and Mesa Road, the city plans to continue with bike markings on Uintah Street west from Mesa to 30th Street this fall.
       The work will primarily consist of street signs and pavement striping, according to Mike Chaves of City Engineering.
       The markings will define 6-foot-wide bicycle lanes on either side of Uintah from Mesa to 19th Street.
       From 19th to 30th, plans show, Uintah will be marked for shared lane markings - also called sharrows.
       Sharrows are markings imprinted on the pavement that recommend where cyclists can position themselves in traffic lanes. They are different from dedicated bike lanes, which indicate where only bikes can go.
       The project, expected to cost around $125,000, is being funded by an 80 percent federal grant and 20 percent from the city.
      
       A sediment-catchment basin along Camp Creek at the north end of the Garden of the Gods was built this year and became operational in July.
       The creek flows into the roughly 10-foot-deep basin down a 45-degree slope that's set with large rocks to avert erosion.
       The basin includes access for city equipment to go in as needed to clean it out and haul the collected dirt away.
       Without a basin to capture the dirt, heavy rains since the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire have caused the creek to leave a large alluvial fan of sediment in that area of the Garden.
       The $200,000 project was paid for by city emergency funds.
      
       Two Westside projects remaining from the original Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) A-list are due to start construction as early as September.
       They are the intersection of Garden of the Gods Road at Chestnut Street and the 25th Street bridge over Fountain Creek at Naegele Road.
       Having been reduced in scope from their original plans over 10 years ago, both projects will require less work and money than anticipated when the RTA project list went to the voters in 2004.
       GoG/Chestnut will get improved traffic signals, sidewalks and handicapped-access ramps. The contracted amount is $252,648.
       The bridge work will involve various structural upgrades, but nothing major, according to Mike Chaves of City Engineering. The contracted amount is $106,109.
      
       A new city project tentatively slated for this fall or later in the year is a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Fountain Creek just west of 31st Street. The bridge, along with a short segment of paved trail on either side, will allow the Foothills Trail to connect to the Midland Trail, which is on the creek's south side there.
       The Foothills Trail goes south from Garden of the Gods Road - as a trail beside 30th Street and then as sidewalk on 31st. Its southern terminus is the end of the sidewalk on 31st, south of Colorado Avenue next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. The vehicular 31st Street bridge over Fountain Creek has no sidewalks (or bicycle lanes).
       Awaiting final design, the estimated ped-bridge cost is $100,000, which will be funded by the city bicycle tax ($4 on each new bicycle), according to Tim Roberts of Traffic Engineering.

Westside Pioneer article