Town moves toward a better highway corridor

The highway corridor is not very friendly to pedestrians, there's little landscaping, and the frontage roads can be confusing for tourists. But before major improvements can get started, the Colorado Department Transportation insists on the town having a corridor access management plan done by an engineering firm, Town Administrator Andrea Phillips told the board at a June 11 meeting.

The board of trustees directed the town administrator at that meeting to seek bid proposals from engineering firms for a management plan for the highway.

"In order to get CDOT to play ball with us and not run over us, this is one of the steps we've got to pursue," said Mayor Pro Tem Todd Kearns.

The cost of a plan could be between $30,000 and $50,000, according to town documents. The town has budgeted $20,000 for planning expertise, Phillips said.

The town trustees and Philips agreed that the highway needs improvement, in part, because the pedestrians and bicyclists don't use the only highway crosswalk, if it's not convenient, To keep citizen from putting themselves at risk, in its request for bids the town asks that the plan include additional pedestrian crossings, potentially one at Willow Street and one at Beech and Spruce Streets. The town would also like to have more landscaping such as fencing and signs and improved traffic flow along the frontage roads.

The plan would have to be within CDOT regulations and it would be presented to the agency.

Both Phillips and Kearns pointet out the benefits of investing in a plan. Phillips said they can be used to leverage additional funding. Kearns reminded everyone that the town's trails plan was a factor in CDOT approving the crossing at the intersection of Highway 160 and Highway 184.

The next step will be evaluating the bids from the engineering firms.

"I would like to see where the bids come in on this since $20,000 is a rather large chunk of change," said Trustee Michele Black.