Rifle City Council votes to keep Railroad Avenue open | PostIndependent.com

Rifle City Council votes to keep Railroad Avenue open

Decision means completion for downtown construction project extended to mid-October

Railroad Avenue in downtown Rifle.
Ray K. Erku / Citizen Telegram

Rifle City Council voted during a special meeting Monday to extend the opening of Railroad Avenue in downtown Rifle.

“We are recommending to leave Railroad (Avenue) open until Third Street is open because we feel it’s in the best interest of all the businesses down there,” Rifle Civil Engineer Craig Spaulding said.

A section of Railroad Avenue has been mostly closed to traffic since a major revitalization construction project started in the downtown area in March. During the Garfield County Fair, however, road base material was laid, and Railroad Avenue opened up to traffic July 29.

But there’s one caveat to Railroad Avenue remaining open. Spaulding said it delays the completion of the construction project by about 14 days. This means it’s likely construction won’t wrap up until mid-October.

The other option would be to leave Railroad Avenue closed until construction on Third Street is completely finished. So far, the majority of construction on West Third Street is complete, with work still to be done on East Third Street and work to the intersection of Fourth Street and Railroad Avenue.

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“So when we are doing the work in the intersection, the intersection of Fourth and Railroad will be closed.”

Paul Martinez of Martinez Western Constructors, a subcontractor for the project, said if Railroad Avenue is left open until Third Street is done, Fourth Street will be temporarily closed down in about one month.

Spaulding said the original contract made with KSK Construction, hired by the city for $3.8 million to complete the project, was essentially allotted 200 working days from start to finish. This originally gave crews until Oct. 7 to fully complete the project. Last week, however, KSK owner Kirk Knowles said Railroad Avenue would be fully filled with hot mix by Sept. 10, with ensuing periodic lane closures.

Martinez said further costs for the city of Rifle in relation to the extended completion date will be — at the most — “relatively insignificant.” With extended traffic control and management, city officials estimate an extra $2,500 in project costs.

“We think it’s better for all the end users in the end to just make it one set of damages instead of opening both,” he said. “But it’s really one additional week beyond that.”

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@citizentelegram.com.

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