Contractor expects Railroad Avenue open just in time for Garfield County Fair parade |

Contractor expects Railroad Avenue open just in time for Garfield County Fair parade

West Third Street in downtown Rifle is starting to take shape.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Railroad Avenue in Rifle should be ready in time for the Garfield County Fair parade, a contractor said Friday.

“I am extremely confident,” KSK Construction owner Kirk Knowles said of the goal. “The project’s not going to be done, let’s be honest. But yes, the road will be open for the fair.”

Knowles said the contract established between KSK and the city calls for Railroad Avenue to be open by July 28.

“I think that, realistically, when they set it up that they wanted two or three days to prepare,” he said. “Put up their banners, get the street swept, you know, clean up whatever construction things need to be done.”

The start of the Garfield County Fair is slated for July 27. The parade is slated for July 31.

Although the road is expected to open July 28, Knowles said KSK plans to use July 29 and July 30 to work with the city and clean up Railroad Avenue in preparation for the parade.

“The city’s been pretty awesome to work with,” Knowles said. “I’ve worked with a number of municipalities on the Western Slope, and they can be a bit more demanding.”

The major downtown revitalization project began in April, bringing traffic congestion with it. Meanwhile, downtown businesses have also been affected in relation to parking, foot traffic and sales.

“We knew that this was going to be painful for the local businesses, and we have really tried to go above and beyond to accommodate their needs and their desires,” Knowles said. “We haven’t always been able to meet them because, unfortunately, we have a job to do. And when you’re replacing sidewalk outside your business’ front door, there comes a point where I gotta shut your sidewalk down.”

Last week, crews concentrated on completing sidewalk construction on Third Street in an effort to have them ready for local Fourth of July celebrations, according to a construction update provided by the city.

This week, crews started concentrating on the north end of Railroad Avenue, with curb and gutter installation beginning on that section, the update states. Sidewalk demolitions will follow once the curb and gutter is in place to support the awnings in front of businesses.

In addition, water services are being brought over to the new waterline, the release states.

Knowles said closures of Railroad Avenue will continue into the summer following the fair. The project’s final completion date is slated for mid-September.

“I am very excited, I really am,” Knowles said. “When we get a lot of this aesthetic work done, the stone work done on the outside of the planters and the walls, get the bollards in place at the end of the parking stalls … I just can’t wait to see it myself. I really am wildly excited to see the final product.”

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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