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‘Phase 1’ of Centennial extension to start this fall

       Concepts are turning into certainties for construction of the long-discussed, partially completed Centennial Boulevard extension.

Phase 1 construction this fall is to fill in this gap in Centennial Boulevard. The photo is taken from the southern end of the median-separated four-lane road past the VA Clinic. The view is downhill to the other built segment (curving past the townhouses at right), which starts north of Mesa Valley Road and goes to Van Buren Street.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Colorado Springs engineers, along with hired consultants, have drawn up a two-phase schedule that shows work starting this fall and the entire link opening by late 2020.
       When it does, it will be a 1½-mile, four-lane, median-divided roadway from Fillmore Street to the Fontanero/I-25 interchange. It's intended to relieve traffic on both Fillmore and Chestnut streets.
       The funding source is $10.45 million from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.
       Phase 1 of the work will focus on filling in a 600-foot gap in the previously built road between Fillmore and Van Buren Street, according to Aaron Egbert, the project manager for City Engineering.
       The segment is north of Mesa Valley Road, downhill from the segment that goes past the VA Clinic.
       Phase 1 plans are complete, but five permanent and temporary easements need to be signed off before construction can start, he said. Foreseeing no obstacles in that effort, he predicted that October will “probably” be the month that a construction contract will be approved by the RTA.
       Work is expected to begin shortly thereafter, with final paving occurring in the spring. At that point, he elaborated, people will finally be allowed to drive the extension between Fillmore and Van Buren.
       However, Egbert reiterated the city's longstanding pledge to the adjacent Mesa Springs neighborhood to avoid cut-through traffic by not allowing Fillmore to link to the two local streets (Van Buren and Mesa Valley Road) until the entire extension is complete.
       Egbert acknowledged that current barricades on Van Buren and Mesa Valley have proven ineffective, but said, “We will do a better job” in that regard after Phase 1 is complete.
       Phase 2 will consist of all new road from Van Buren to Fontanero, along with finish work (including sidewalks) in other areas. But that work can't start until the property owner just south of Van Buren - a group named MVS Development LLC - cleans up a trash site left over from past owners. A state permit is needed. The incentive is that MVS has concept-plan approval from the city to build more than 400 homes on the 47-acre location.
       The group had obtained a permit several years ago, but it expired because the city didn't have extension funding yet, Egbert explained. The project team anticipates the cleanup finishing by the end of December 2018. Early 2019 is when Phase 2 is scheduled to start.

Westside Pioneer article