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Town’s busiest intersection moving one block north

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During Highway 133 construction

By Lynn Burton

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Sopris Sun Staff Writer

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Carbondale’s busiest intersection will move one block to the north when Highway 133 construction begins and CDOT installs a temporary traffic light at Colorado Avenue to replace the Main Street traffic signal.

Construction on the 1.9 mile, $9.4 million project is scheduled to start on May 27 and conclude in November, according to CDOT officials, and will bring the following improvements:

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• A round-about at the intersection of Highway 133 and Main Street;

• A wider highway and reconfigured lanes, beginning at the Highway 82 intersection;

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• Additional sidewalks and trails;

• Extensive landscaping up and down the entire stretch, including the roundabout itself.

“When finished, the plan … will allow traffic to flow more efficiently, increase pedestrian and motorist safety, and enhance the aesthetics on this … highway,” said a CDOT press release.

The Colorado Department of Transportation and town have also agreed to place a sculpture by noted sculptor and Missouri Heights resident James Surls in the center of the round-about.

The contractor for the project is the Grand Junction based United Companies.

In an e-mail Q&A with The Sopris Sun, CDOT Project Engineer Adam Cornely, provided the following construction-related

information.

Sun: How will the temporary traffic light at Colorado Avenue work?

Cornely: As soon as the contractor gets the temporary traffic signal set up at Colorado Avenue, the signal at Main Street will be shut down and removed. Traffic will be shifted to the east on SH 133 between Dolores Way and Colorado Avenue so the contractor can reconstruct the west side of SH 133. While this is going on the contractor will also be constructing the eastern portion of the roundabout. Traffic will be allowed through the SH 133/Main Street intersection, but east Main Street will be closed. During this phase vehicles will be able to access east Main via the signal at Colorado Avenue. West Main and areas south of Main Street can be accessed via SH 133.

During the next phase of construction, traffic will be shifted to the west of SH 133 between Dolores Way and Colorado Avenue so the contractor can reconstruct the east side of SH 133. While this is going on the contractor will also be constructing the western portion of the roundabout. Traffic will be allowed through the SH 133/Main Street intersection, but west Main Street will be closed. During this phase vehicles will be able to access west Main via alternate routes such as Hendrick Road. East Main can be accessed at this point via the signal at Colorado Avenue if heading south, or via the east half of the roundabout if heading north.

After this phase the roundabout will be fully operational and other various closures will occur such as when improvements are made to Colorado Avenue and other access points in the project limits (City Market, Carbondale Plaza, etc.)

Q: So, round-about construction will take place at the same time as the rest of the project?

A: Yes, you are correct.

Q: How will River Valley Ranch residents proceed north through the Highway 133/Main Street intersection?

A: At this point it is anticipated that north/south traffic will be permitted through the intersection through the entire project. It is very early in the project to predict with accuracy how things will be occurring several weeks from now. I believe once the project gets moving, just after Memorial Day, we will have a much better idea how things will play out. That said I believe the basic concepts described above should give you a pretty good idea of how things will be progressing over the next few months.

Q: Will there be any weekend construction?

A: Very likely. At this point the contractor would like to try to utilize a Monday through Friday operation, but as the project progresses weekends could come into play.

Q:  Will there be any construction during rush hours?

A: The contractor will be allowed to work Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (the town can grant longer hours on Saturday and some working hours on Sunday if requested by the contractor).

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Although traffic-flow details for the Highway 133 construction project are not finalized, no less than three media relation specialists will work to spread updates to the business community and public between now and November.

Those specialists are: Tracy Trulove (CDOT Region 3 communications manager), LaSheita Sayer (public information manager for United Companies) and Kate Collins (of Write Brain West).

Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Director Andrea Stewart said the chamber allocated $5,000 from its 2014 town grant to contract with Collins for marketing and public relations services. “This will allow us the opportunity to be a communications channel for the Carbondale business community and visitors,” Stewart told The Sopris Sun. Collins is also posting updates provided to her at carbondale133.com.

Sayer is in charge of the project hotline at 970-688-4988 and SH133publicinfoteam.com.

Trulove can be reached at 384-3371.

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