Bridge officials to tweak flow at Sixth and Laurel roundabout
It’s week after the opening of the new Grand Avenue bridge, and reviews from the driving public and project officials seem mostly positive.
“Generally, the bridge moves traffic very well, and with the new configuration the semis in particular are getting from [Colorado Highway] 82 to I-70 a lot more efficiently,” said Graham Riddile, project engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
“I’d say we’re pretty darn pleased with the new product we have out there,” he said.
Still, one trouble spot while construction activities continue has been the new roundabout at Sixth and Laurel streets.
There, traffic headed into the roundabout and onto the new bridge from the west side of Sixth has occasionally backed up, sometimes blocking those headed for eastbound or westbound I-70 from the north Glenwood area.
Those backups have occurred when the bridge was reduced to one southbound lane while contractors complete work along the sides of the bridge and in the traffic islands, Riddile said.
It is something the project team and CDOT will continue to monitor, he said, especially as traffic volumes increase with the coming ski season and headed into next summer.
“We knew there would be a few hiccups getting going on all this,” Riddile said, adding that the short distance between the roundabout and the signal allowing traffic onto the bridge was expected to be a challenge.
The signal timing has increased from 10 seconds to its maximum of 19 seconds, depending on the presence of vehicles. Under normal circumstances, that should be enough to allow traffic to clear, he said.
“We have been monitoring it, and honestly we really only had two bad days from what we could discern,” Riddile said. “Both were when there were lane closures, which does compromise the signal operation.”
Any additional increase in the signal timing coming from the north would negatively impact the flow of traffic going from 82 onto I-70, he noted.
As those occasional daytime lane closures are scheduled, CDOT will advise motorists to consider taking exit 114 to Midland Avenue or I-70 to exit 116, and avoiding West Sixth.
Bridge construction crews are also awaiting additional equipment that will allow the traffic signals controlling traffic onto I-70 to be fully functional, he said. Currently, there’s a flashing yellow warning for traffic coming from the bridge to I-70 and from eastbound I-70 onto the bridge. A stop sign is in place for traffic headed from the roundabout to I-70.
“It will probably be a few more months before we can run the full signal cycle at those intersections,” Riddile said.