Railroad Avenue in Rifle open to traffic
Concrete might not be the material supporting it, but Railroad Avenue between Third and Fourth streets is now open to traffic.
“We’ve already turned the light on at (Centennial Parkway),” KSK Construction owner Kirk Knowles said earlier today. “We’re in the process of clearing all the barricades right now.”
KSK was originally hired to perform the major revitalization project, which started in March, for $3.8 million. Ever since, it has closed off a section of Railroad Avenue, causing traffic to divert through side streets like Whiteriver and West avenues.
The city used $1 million from the Department of Local Affairs, $200,000 from the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District and $350,000 from the Urban Renewal Authority to help support the project.
The recent opening of Railroad Avenue comes after Knowles expressed concern to Rifle City Council on July 21 that concrete poured in that section of roadway will not be strong enough to support traffic caused by the upcoming Garfield County Fair parade. The parade is slated for 10 a.m. Saturday.
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“Eventually, we got to the realization that it was too much work, and we wouldn’t make it,” Knowles said. “So we came up with Plan B, which we always had.”
Instead of concrete, KSK put down magnesium chloride, a type of powerful salt to act as a temporary surface. The road-base material will help keep Railroad Avenue open to traffic throughout the fair.
Railroad Avenue will again be shut down for construction sometime mid next week, Knowles said. After the fair, crews will dig out the road base and pour in concrete.
Rifle City Council Member Brian Condie said KSK discovered underground water while trying to install the concrete.
“There’s an underground, natural spring that comes down Fourth Street, and they discovered where the drainage for the road is going to go is already filled with water,” he said. “So now they’ve got to divert either the natural spring or the water underneath that concrete.”
Condie said instead of routing traffic to side streets, the city and KSK agreed to fill in Railroad with road base material and compact it, essentially making it a compacted dirt road for temporary use.
“We intended it to be concrete,” Condie said. “But … the road will be open for the county fair, and when the fair is over, we’ll pick it up and then put concrete in.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com.
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