CARBONDALE, Colorado - After nearly 15 years of thought and study, state highway planners and the town's Board of Trustees tonight will highlight major improvements planned for Highway 133 in 2014.
At a public meeting starting at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, the trustees and officials from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will discuss ideas including:
• Widening the highway to three lanes of traffic, with the middle lane for turns and pedestrian safety islands every quarter-mile along certain lengths of the highway.
• Four two-lane roundabouts at the highway's intersections with Industry Place, Nieslanik Avenue, Main Street and Weant Boulevard.
• A sidewalk extension from the Highway 133 bridge over the Roaring Fork River south to Cowen Drive.
• Improvements to bike-pedestrian trail connections at several points, including Highway 133 and Snowmass Drive.
• Raised medians adjacent to the Main Street roundabout, to deflect motorists from entering the roundabout incorrectly and to provide safe crossings for pedestrian and bicycles.
The plans have been drawn up by a planning leadership team made up of town, county and state representatives. According to a memo from CDOT to the trustees, the team is expected to be kept active through the final design phase of the highway improvements, which is to be done over the coming winter.
Highway construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2014, although the initial work would be limited to:
• Shoulder widening and addition of two-way left-turn lanes along the highway between Delores Way and Main Street.
• Reconstruction of the bike and pedestrian path along the east side of Highway 133 from Delores Way and Main Street.
• A two-lane roundabout at Main and 133.
• Asphalt resurfacing from Cowen Drive to Delores Way, and from Main Street to Meadowood Drive.
• A new pedestrian path along the west side of the highway between Main Street and Hendrick Drive.
• A pedestrian crossing signal at Hendrick Drive.
The CDOT memo to the trustees indicated that, while the state continues to prefer widening Highway 133 to four lanes, the three-lane option is preferred by local governments and citizens.
The four-lane option will remain open because, according to the memo, "this stretch of state highway has one of the highest volume/capacity ratios in western Colorado, and traffic growth projections show that additional capacity is going to be needed."
The memo points out that the relatively new four-lane Highway 133 bridge over the Roaring Fork River is designed to connect to a four-lane thoroughfare through town.
The construction of the overall project, scheduled for spring through fall of 2014, is projected to cost $5.2 million, from preliminary engineering on through completion.
CDOT will provide $4.1 million, the town will provide $500,000, and a combined state and federal fund will provide $200,000, according to the CDOT memo.