Beautification begins on S. Broadway Drivers can expect one-lane closures
Courtesy drawing Gateway signs could welcome visitors to Cortez starting next year. DHM Design of
A city plan to beautify the southern corridor of Cortez will focus attention on public safety issues before any aesthetic components are accomplished.
The first phase of the city’s 2013 Median Beautification Project is expected to start this week along a one-mile stretch of South Broadway. From Maple Street south to McElmo Street, crews will remove and replace nearly 5,000 square yards of concrete along with 16 street lamps inside the median. Motorists can expect one-lane closures along the thoroughfare during the 90-day construction project.
“I’m glad we’re getting under way with the South Broadway phase,” said City Manager Shane Hale. “It’s going to be great for the city.”
Initial plans also called for landscape improvements on South Broadway, but that phase of the project won’t be completed until next spring. The decision to split the project into two phases was decided after the city received a lone bid totaling more than $600,000, nearly $200,000 over estimates.
Cortez Public Works Director Jack Nickerson said the proposed landscaping work, which includes planting some 3,000 shrubs and grasses, pushed the bid high. He plans to seek new bids for landscaping, the final phase of the beautification project, by February.
“It’s going to be ugly this winter, but it’s been ugly for a long time,” he told city council members last week.
The city awarded Candelaria Construction a $277,822 bid to perform the concrete and street light replacement aspect of the project. Nickerson said reducing the scope of the project saved taxpayers nearly $50,000.
“Utilizing this approach, we can complete the public safety issue of the project on schedule, and still meet our overall goal of median beautification by dividing the work into two separate projects,” he added.
DHM Design, a Durango architecture firm, presented city leaders last week with a draft proposal to beautify all of the corridors leading into Cortez. The proposal includes installation of five gateway signs, which would create distinct monuments representative of the city’s unique cultures.
The city is expected to include some $125,000 in the 2014 capital improvement budget for the gateway signs, Hale said. Each sign is expected to cost approximately $20,000, and the city must first acquire needed right-of-way easements.
“All five potential signs are on the fast track for 2014 versus doing one or two signs per year,” Hale said.
Part of a larger overall plan, the welcome signs are slated to be installed on roadways leading into Cortez from Towaoc, Dove Creek, Dolores and Mancos. Project designer Craig Stoffel said the goal is two-fold — on one hand, the need to represent diverse lifestyles and people-groups; on the other, continuity.
The proposed plan also calls for beautification projects along North Broadway, Main Street, East Seventh Street and the intersection of Highway 160 and Highway 145. Cortez planning and building director Kirsten Sackett is hopeful the city will approve the total beautification project later this month.
“We need to adopt the plan so we can use it as a tool moving forward,” she said.