Fri Jun 27th, 2014
The Southern Ute Drum
Categories: Top Stories
Construction to improve State Highway 172 in Ignacio, Colo., will start Monday, July 7. Improvements to the highway are expected to benefit not only motorists, but pedestrians as well.
The project is slated to be completed mid-October – long before the June 2015 grand opening of the new Growth Fund office building – and will help manage the influx of traffic expected to the area.
According to Kurt Prinslow, Tierra Commercial Project Manager, the highway improvement project is not new; however it is just one of the many elements of the Ignacio Area Access Corridor Plan (IACAP) that is getting implemented. The IACAP created a “blueprint” for how the major corridors in the area will serve traffic for residents, workers, and visitors. The entire plan can be reviewed on the Southern Ute Indian Tribe website at www.southernute-nsn.gov/tribal-planning. The IACAP committee includes representatives from: the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ignacio, La Plata County and the Colorado Department of Transportation.
During the three-month project, motorists can expect some delays and detours as crews work to improve the highway, drains, gutters and sidewalks. Motorists can plan on two road closures during construction: one at Weeminuche Avenue and one at Ouray Drive.
Weeminuche Avenue will be closed between July 28 and August 1, and Ouray Drive will be closed for approximately two weeks from September 1 to September 12, Prinslow said.
Weeminuche Avenue will have a signal installed and Ouray Drive will be transformed into a right-in/right-out only intersection.
“There will be no more left turns into or out of Ouray,” he said.
According to Prinslow, State Highway 172 will not be closed at anytime during construction, and access to the current Growth Fund parking lot will not be affected.
Motorists can expect to see work begin in front of Thriftway and span northward to the intersection of State Highway 172 and La Plata County Road 314; where the bulk of the work will take place, Prinslow said.
Pedestrians will soon see the crosswalks in front of Thriftway and the crossing in front of the current Growth Fund building disappear, as a raised concrete median will emerge in the center of State Highway 172 – in front of the new Growth Fund building.
A new crosswalk will be constructed to pass through the new median. The upgraded crossing will include rapid flash beacons and a pedestrian refuge in the median which will increase pedestrian safety while crossing the street, Prinslow said.
“By moving the old crossing further north, it’s going to be more safe for pedestrians to cross the street; there will be a pedestrian activated warning system and warning flashers that come on to alert traffic,” he said.
Pedestrians will also be able to cross the highway safely at the State Highway 172 and La Plata County Road 314 intersection, which will be equipped with traffic signals and designated crosswalks.
Upon completion, motorists traveling north- and southbound through the State Highway 172 and La Plata County Road 314 intersection will see new traffic signals; left and right dedicated turn lanes; and one through lane.
Eastbound commuters on La Plata County Road 314 can expect to see one shared lane for both left turning- and thru traffic, along with one right turn lane onto southbound State Highway 172.
Westbound traveling traffic on Weeminuche Avenue will have one shared lane for all through movement’s, including left and right turning traffic, Prinslow said.