Fri Aug 14th, 2020
Robert L. Ortiz
The Southern Ute Drum
Categories: Top Stories
Tags: CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew, CDOT Region 5 Transportation Director Mike McVaugh, City of Durango, Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado’s Transportation Commission and Department of Local Affairs, design-build process, Farmington Hill, La Plata County, Lawrence Construction Company, outhwest Colorado (Region 5), Southern Ute Indian Tribe, US 550 – US 160 Connection
Project is the result of local, state and federal support
The Colorado Department of Transportation will begin construction of the US 550 – US 160 Connection South this month. The project will complete the US Highway 160 interchange by connecting the existing bridge over US 160 to US 550 to the south. CDOT will construct this project using the design-build process, partnering with a contracted team led by Lawrence Construction Company and RS&H, Inc. The interchange is scheduled for completion by the spring of 2023.
“I want to congratulate our team in Southwest Colorado (Region 5) on reaching a tremendous milestone,” CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew said. “This project reflects years of hard work and planning, and I am proud of their accomplishments and successful partnerships that made it a reality.”
Director Lew also praised the collaboration and innovation among the partners involved with the planning and development of the project, which has garnered tremendous support from local, state and federal governments.
“The list of local agencies investing in this project is quite impressive,” Lew said. “The City of Durango, La Plata County and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe have all stepped forward to make a commitment to the project’s success. Colorado’s Transportation Commission and Department of Local Affairs have also provided funding. And most significant is the successful $12.3 million federal FASTLANE grant award sought after by La Plata County.”
The total cost of the project is $98.6 million (this includes the total of both CDOT project management and the contractor award).
“Director Lew referred to the innovations in regard to funding. The design and construction of this project will also be built with innovation as a key component,” CDOT Region 5 Transportation Director Mike McVaugh said. “The construction team (Lawrence Construction Company and RS&H, Inc.) was chosen and awarded this contract because of their ideas and innovation on minimizing impacts to the environment, residents and businesses in the area, while maximizing the project scope.”
SIGNIFICANT ADDITIONS, SAVINGS
The initial scope of the project would have constructed a new 1.1-mile, four-lane section of US 550 north of La Plata County Road 220 to connect the major highway with the existing US 160 interchange. By using the design-build process the contractor was able to stretch funding, which allowed for the widening of an additional 3.3-mile section of US 550 south of CR 220 to four lanes, tying into the existing four-lane highway at the CR 302 intersection.
The design-build process is a two-step project delivery method where the design and build phases are combined into one contract. It represents a risk-sharing approach that assigns the inherent risks to the party that is best suited to mitigate, transfer or absorb those risks that are a part of any construction project. Design-build encourages innovation and efficiency to leverage the project budget, extend cost savings and add value to the contract.
The work will involve the following key construction steps, which include several notable innovations designed by the contractor team to dramatically reduce construction impacts for the traveling public. With regard to the design-build process, some elements of these key steps are likely to evolve as the work progresses.
The project construction team will:
By realigning US 550 to connect with the US 160 interchange in Grandview, the project will greatly enhance safety for passenger and commercial vehicles, as well as cyclists. The new connection will eliminate the steep, curved grade of the current US 550. This realignment will greatly improve safety by creating a full-service, continuous-flow interchange that eliminates signalization and at-grade intersections (including that at the base of Farmington Hill) where crashes can occur. Safety will also be improved through the widening of US 550 to four lanes, with widened shoulders and auxiliary lanes for safer merges onto and off of the highway. Finally, the project will increase safety through wildlife underpass crossings and deer fencing, which will reduce animal-vehicle collisions.
Lawrence Construction is a family-owned and operated Colorado construction company with a 96-year history of building highway and infrastructure projects across the state. Lawrence’s history working on design-build projects makes them uniquely qualified to complete the US 550-US 160 Connection South. As a local, Colorado contractor, Lawrence is fully vested in ensuring this project is built at the highest quality for generations of Durango residents and visitors.
A construction access road will be built first (on the future new highway alignment), enabling crews, equipment and haul trucks to enter and exit the work site. This access road will limit traffic impacts and interruptions for motorists on US 550 and CR 220. The access road will also allow crews to reach and begin building the first of two new highway bridge structures necessary to span over deep gulches. The site to the second bridge is expected to be pioneered in October from the north, at the high bridge which currently exists over US 160 at Grandview.
Initially, work hours will be from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday (most weeks). Travelers may be stopped briefly, as necessary, to accommodate construction equipment, directed by flaggers through single-lane, alternating traffic on US 550 or CR 220.
PROJECT CONTACT INFORMATION
Community/Travelers Encouraged To Sign Up For Weekly Project Updates Via Website
For general travel impact updates for this and other CDOT projects: www.COtrip.org