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Work starting on shortcut for 8th & Cimarron

       Over two years ago, when Kraemer North America came on board as the Cimarron/I-25 contractor, its design team saw something no one else had.

A Kraemer North America graphic shows the planned "quadrant roadway" shortcut between Cimarron and Eighth streets. The Cimarron/I-25 interchange (which won't be fully built to that configuration until later this year) is at lower right. The numbered items identify features related to the quadrant. Looking closely reveals lane designations. The optional "second right turn" (number 5) on the southbound off-ramp was added to give drivers enough distance on westbound Cimarron Street to access the left-turn lane at the quadrant/shortcut.
Courtesy of Kraemer North America and Colorado Department of Transportation

       It was a way to lessen traffic at the nearby intersection of Cimarron and Eighth streets, by giving motorists a shortcut to avoid it.
       Construction is starting in early May on what the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is calling the “quadrant roadway.”
       The shortcut will connect to Cimarron west of the interchange ramps. A stoplight there will allow westbound Cimarron vehicles to make double-lefts onto the quadrant and eastbound quadrant vehicles to make double-rights onto Cimarron.
       At the quadrant's other end, Eighth Street, south of the Sinclair gas station, a stoplight will be lined up with the southerly access to the Colorado Place shopping center (near the Popeye's).

Artificial late-night lighting for the Cimarron/I-25 girder placement project in April made this scene look like the river to Hades, but it was actually Fountain Creek in its temporary channel, just west of Monument Creek.
Westside Pioneer photo

       By mid-July, barring delays, the roughly 800-foot-long, four-lane segment will be complete, according to project engineers.
       An analysis by the contractor - confirmed by City Transportation - estimates that the quadrant will divert enough traffic to result in 20 percent fewer vehicles at Eighth and Cimarron on weekdays and 40 percent on weekends.
       “It will helps us to alleviate traffic backups,” summarized Dave Watt, CDOT's engineer for the interchange project.
       The shortcut possibility became evident in 2014, after a defunct hotel was torn down on a 4.6-acre property CDOT had bought southeast of Cimarron/Eighth. The state had initially envisioned the site as merely a staging area for equipment during the interchange project, but after winning the $113 million project contract, Kraemer designed the shortcut option and offered it as a bonus “extra,” Watt said, before work started in May 2015.
       Much of the new road will run through the former hotel footprint, just north of Fountain Creek.
       Traffic impacts during construction will particularly be felt on Eighth Street between Cimarron and the new quadrant access point just north of the Fountain Creek pedestrian bridge. A press release warns of “intermittent overnight lane restrictions and full closures.” During the work, traffic will be shifted to the west. Two lanes will remain open in each direction during the day, with “intermittent single-lane traffic impacts.”
       The Eighth Street work will include asphalt removals (to make room for an exclusive right turn from northbound Eighth onto the quadrant), paving, concrete pours, traffic signals, and an additional access to the gas station (from the quadrant).

ABOVE: In the air and on its way to being set is the 14th of 18 girders that were placed for the new I-25 northbound bridge over Cimarron Street/Highway 24 the nights of April 5 and 6. This particular girder was set at about 12:30 a.m. on April 7.
BELOW: The Eighth Street access for the Colorado Place shopping center (shown in 2015, when the Express Inn was being demolished), is to line up with the quadrant/shortcut.
Westside Pioneer photos

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