Construction on State Highway 133 in Carbondale is on schedule and on budget as the project nears the halfway mark. Improvements, including widening the highway, adding trails and sidewalks, and installing a roundabout at Highway 133 and Main Street, began in May and are slated to wrap up in November.
“Work on the west side of the roundabout and the reconstruction on the section north of Colorado Avenue into the village is right on target,” said Graham Riddile, Colorado Department of Transportation engineer. Riddile said change orders have been minor and within budget.
Riddle said crews are working to minimize wait times and to maximize traffic flow.
“We understand that this project is different than a typical interstate construction. We’re working in the middle of town and right outside people’s homes,” he said. “Both CDOT and United Companies, our contractor, have a heightened sensitivity to that.”
Sales tax receipts indicate that so far, local business is trending up during the construction period. According to the town of Carbondale Finance Department, sales tax collected in June — for May sales — was up 4.5 percent, and the July collection for June sales was up 3.9 percent from 2013. Lodging tax for June was up 20.22 percent over last year.
Some businesses have fared better than others. The Roaring Fork Co-Op has seen a noticeable decline in sales, particularly at the gas pumps, while Dos Gringos Burritos has had fairly steady traffic.
Darren Broome, owner of Aloha Mountain Cyclery, is pleasantly surprised at the construction progress and process.
“We planned for the worst and hoped for the best. It turns out it really hasn’t affected us. As a destination business people seek us out,” said Broome. “It’s way less painful than we thought it would be, and it seems to be going incredibly well for such a huge project.” He added that if people are inconvenienced by the short delays, that by and large, they’ve learned to deal with it.
As a member of the town’s Bike, Pedestrian and Trails Committee, Broome said he’s excited about the new trail connections that will make access to Dolores Way better and safer.
Traffic has now shifted to the west side of State Highway 133 between Colorado Avenue and Dolores Way as work on the east side of the highway gets under way.
West Main Street will close for about six weeks as work has shifted to the west side of the future roundabout. East Main Street has been reopened, and Hendrick Drive will serve as a detour while West Main is closed.
This construction will complete an overarching plan and process that has been under way since 1998 as a component of the Carbondale master plan. When finished, the Highway 133 Safety Improvements Plan will allow traffic to flow more efficiently, increase pedestrian and motorist safety, and enhance the aesthetics on the two-mile stretch of the highway, south of State Highway 82.
Partners in design, funding, planning and execution include the town of Carbondale, the Federal Mineral Lease District, Garfield County, the Roaring Fork Transit Authority and CDOT.