Cdale highway construction is into final stages
A new roundabout at the intersection of Highway 133 and Main Street in Carbondale opened without fanfare under an overcast sky at 7 Monday morning.
One large truck broke down in the intersection early on due to engine trouble, but otherwise traffic flowed steadily through the morning with only minor hiccups.
“People are really used to that temporary light and not having to yield and they need to realize that it’s operating as a roundabout, but I think traffic is running very well, and people are starting to get comfortable with it,” said Project Engineer Adam Cornely.
“I think the biggest challenges are behind us,” he added. “We’re still going to need a bit of patience from people, but it’s going to come together pretty quickly.”
For many residents and business owners, the end can’t come soon enough.
“I don’t care about the statue anymore. I don’t care about a roundabout versus a traffic light. I really just want there to not be construction at the entrance to my community,” said Jake Boyles of Crystal River Spas near the intersection. “I hope that the valley will remember Carbondale after the cones are gone.”
Caroline Alberino, who lives a few blocks away, expressed excitement at the project’s conclusion as she navigated the new crosswalk.
“Sometimes it took me so long to get through the construction, I’d forgotten where I was going by the time I got on the other side,” she recalled. “It was horrible, but now it’s better. I don’t need it to be perfect; I just like improvement.”
Construction will continue north and south of the roundabout until the improvement project on Highway 133 wraps up at the end of November.
Crews still have to finish removing the temporary light at the intersection of Highway 133 and Colorado Avenue, which will be closed to through traffic with business access intact for several weeks. Cornely expects minimal delays during installation of colored crosswalks and the final round of paving, which will bring the highway up to grade.
“The paving impacts are short,” he said. “You’re talking maybe 45 minutes to an hour.”
A stoplight at Highway 133 and Snowmass Drive is also slated for the next couple of months, but should not conflict with the current, unrelated closure at Snowmass and Main, which should wrap up within a couple of weeks. The bike path along the west side of the highway will see some final touches, including lighting and enhanced drainage.
Landscaping throughout the project will likely wait until spring, although irrigation is being installed now. The roundabout itself is still awaiting pedestrian beacons to aid crossing, and will be without its central feature, a large sculpture by local artist James Surls, until late November.
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