Westside Avenue Action Plan e-Newsletter
March 2018 Construction Phase eNewsletter
Westside Avenue Action Plan
Welcome

Welcome to the Westside Avenue Action Plan Construction 
e-newsletter. Future  e-newsletters will be sent periodically with project updates and other useful information.
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The weekly Traffic Advisories include video links to previews of upcoming construction impacts.

Project Hotline: 719-301-3801
  • Provide for safe and efficient transportation along the corridor
  • Create a compatible link between the two vibrant historic districts, Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs
  • Serve as a catalyst for economic revitalization and other future corridor improvements
  • Provide Fountain Creek improvements to mitigate any future flooding
Agency Sponsors
 
 
Agency representatives have made a high level, regional commitment to work together and with area residents, businesses, community groups, and other stakeholders to develop a citizen-driven plan based on community values for the much-needed improvements along this vital corridor.
Multijurisdictional Project

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Project Plot Map

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Current Status and Schedule
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WAAP Construction 
Look-Ahead

In the coming months, the project contractor Wildcat Construction (Wildcat) will begin installation activities for underground infrastructure along W. Colorado Avenue moving east from Ridge Road to 31st Street. The work will entail the same type of construction activity in this section of W. Colorado Avenue that took place last year to the west of Ridge Road along Manitou Avenue. This includes installing or relocating water lines, wastewater lines, storm sewer, sidewalks, curb and gutter, lighting, and undergrounding electric and telecom. The community can anticipate similar disruptions in this next phase as has been experienced in the current phase. Lane closures reducing traffic to one lane of travel in each direction can be anticipated, and, on rare occasions, one-way alternating traffic with flaggers.

Work continues in the area of the new Adams Crossing Bridge:
  • Caissons (deep foundational piers) have been constructed in the area for the new bridge as well as the east footing.
  • The west footing and both abutment walls will be placed as weather allows. The concrete must reach full strength prior to constructing the bridge decking.
  • Wildcat anticipates to begin setting girders in mid-March.
  • Once the girders are in place, work will begin on building up the remaining portions of the deck and roadway.
  • Above-ground infrastructure such as lighting, sidewalks, railings, and crash safety barriers will follow the deck completion.
  • Below-ground work will also take place at this time, including the Midland Trail connection, trail lighting, and architectural paneling.
  • Once the bridge decking is in place, work at the Columbia Road intersection will begin to tie in the new grades and slopes.
Retaining Walls:
  • Retaining walls will start going up along Fountain Creek and the new alignment of the creek will start to take shape.
  • The first of the retaining walls, #3 and #4, are on the south side of Fountain Creek and run approximately 450 feet to the west from the new bridge abutment. The walls will allow for traffic shifting to the new bridge during the next construction phase.
  • Walls #1, 2, 5, and 7 will be constructed based on weather and acquisition rights-of-way.
  • As the rainy season and snow melt begins to raise water levels, work will focus on the infrastructure not located in the creek.
Ridge Road Plaza:
  • Ridge Road between Pikes Peak and Colorado avenues is now permanently closed. This area is being repurposed for the City of Colorado Springs as a pedestrian and bicycle plaza. Work here includes installation of retaining walls, the plaza, and a bicycle repair area.
Undergrounding of Utilities:
  • Colorado Springs Utilities has started installing the underground electric system, vaults, and transformers from U.S. 24 to Columbia Avenue.
  • Once the underground system is energized, Wildcat's subcontractor, A Higher Power will move the electric services for each building one at a time.
  • A Higher Power is also currently installing the streetlights along Manitou Avenue in this area.
  • After all services are transferred underground, the street poles and overhead lines will begin to come down.
Latest Project Progress Video:
CLICK HERE to view 1st Quarter 2018 Project Update.
Bridge Demo Photos 
Fall 2017




Ridge Road Permanently Closes - 
Makes Way for Pedestrian and Bike Plaza
In January, a major milestone for the Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) construction project occurred when the City of Colorado Springs permanently closed Ridge Road between Colorado and W. Pikes Peak avenues. The short stretch of road is being transformed into a pedestrian and bicycle plaza. The concept for the plaza came as a result of a City of Colorado Springs traffic study that the road closure would improve intersection operations and result in increased safety for both drivers and pedestrians. "The plaza serves as a pedestrian, transit and bicycle node along the corridor and will improve the aesthetic of the area. It will also improve overall traffic flow with the addition of a bus lane for pickup and drop off that will be coordinated with the traffic signal phasing," said Dennis Barron, WAAP project manager for El Paso County.

The pedestrian and bicycle plaza will include a new aesthetic wall between Pikes Peak and Colorado avenues, street lighting, sidewalks, landscaping, bike racks, a bike repair vending machine, and a Mountain Metro Transit bus queue jump. A queue jump is a separate lane for buses allowing safe passenger loading and easy merging back into traffic with a new coordinated signal system. "This new bus stop will enhance safety for those using the bus service and will provide an additional pull-off lane so as to not interfere with traffic on the road," said El Paso County Commissioner, District 3, Stan VanderWerf. To get around the closure of Ridge Road, motorists can take Colorado Avenue to S. 36th Street or S. 34th Street to connect with W. Pikes Peak Avenue and Ridge Road. The cost of the plaza, expected to be completed and open by this Fall, is included in the $31-million budget for the Westside Avenue Action Plan construction project.
Former Bridge Over Fountain Creek Demolished -- Transformation Underway of New Adams Crossing Bridge

Another project milestone occurred last September when the WAAP contractor Wildcat Construction demolished the north half of the old Colorado Avenue bridge, located at Columbia Road over Fountain Creek. 

Construction crews started with scraping and removing the concrete from the bridge deck. Once the four girders were exposed, Wildcat welders worked to disconnect metal beams and material from the girders. This allowed for the crane to lift out the 60 foot long, 1,000 pound girders one at a time . After removal, the girders and rebar were placed in a protected area near the site and later hauled away for recycling.

The large crane from Cherry Creek Recycling company was positioned at the Garden of the Gods RV Resort parking lot to handle the removal. "This location was optimal since it protected the traveling public and allowed the project team to move around safely," said El Paso County Project Manager Dennis Barron. "We appreciate the Garden of the Gods RV Resort allowing us access to its property for this operation."

Wind gusts just under 20 miles per hour became a concern for the September 20 girder removal. Crane work for lifting heavy objects is typically restricted when winds are more than 25 mph. The winds did subside during the day, enabling crews to complete the work.

According to plans, the new Adams Crossing Bridge will be built just north of the remaining half of the old bridge over the creek. When the new bridge is complete this spring, Wildcat will demolish the southern half of the old bridge.
Fountain Creek Relocated

To enable construction  of the new Adams Crossing Bridge and accommodate the new 3-lane roadway configuration, bike lanes and sidewalks, approximately 1,000 feet of Fountain Creek will be moved to the north about 50 feet. To make room for the new bridge, it was necessary to acquire additional right-of-way from Garden of the Gods RV Resort. Those acquisition negotiations are on-going.  The bridge, originally built in 1934, has more than served its useful life. The new bridge will be wider and higher to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists on the trail underneath and is designed to accommodate high water during big storms as well as a 100-year flood event, should one occur.

Other aspects of the project in this area include construction of a new retaining wall along the north side of Colorado Avenue as well as a new pedestrian bridge over Fountain Creek near the Manitou Springs arch sign. Once completed, pedestrians and bicyclists will have a better trail experience and a safer route on the Midland Trail and along Fountain Creek.
WAAP Critter Watch

A nighttime visitor has been frequenting the WAAP project construction area, causing havoc for the construction crews and nearby property owners. Construction crews were perplexed over what was causing the creek to back up onto the Garden of the Gods RV Resort property. Until, that is, the culprit was caught red handed by video surveillance. Affectionately named the "WAAP Beaver," the pesky critter was caught dragging trees and building dams along the ditch line forcing water into the RV Resort property. The debris was removed and crews are on the watch for more building activity. Since the beaver is merely doing what comes naturally building dams by taking advantage of whatever construction material it finds, there are no plans to do anything about the beaver at this time. But beware WAAP Beaver, you're being watched.
Timber Lodge Celebrates 30th Anniversary

On the eastern edge of Manitou Springs is Timber Lodge, 24 quaint mini cabins spread over several acres. The location borders Fountain Creek and is surrounded by trees, flowers, and wildlife. Described as "a little bit of country, right in the middle of town," by a Timber Lodge guest, it continues to hold true in spite of the WAAP construction project surrounding it.

Owner/Operator John and Cindy Hooton purchased the Timber Lodge March 1, 1988. "This is our 30th Anniversary year. Wow! We love what we do and time has flown by," said Cindy. The Hooton's have hosted more than 350 family reunions at the lodge, with one family enjoying it so much, they have returned 12 times. "The atmosphere here is relaxed, casual, fun and conducive for families to reconnect and enjoy each other's company," said Cindy. "It's been a favorite family vacation spot for many people through the years. It's not unusual for guests to share stories of when their grandparents brought them here as children," Cindy said. "They are thrilled the cabins have stood the test of time and grateful that it is still here to enjoy." The four A-frame cabins were built first in the 1930s, with the rest of the cabins built in the 1940's and 1950's.
 
The Timber Lodge does not take online reservations. The Hooton's and their staff prefer to personally speak to every person that books a reservation so they can describe the area, cabins and attractions in detail. Their philosophy is that their guests have worked hard all year for their vacation time. "We want them to enjoy their vacation and leave Colorado with wonderful memories and plans to return soon," said John. Speaking personally to their guests also enables the Hooton's to describe the WAAP construction project, explaining the revitalization taking place along Manitou and W. Colorado avenues. "We want every caller to know how this project is going to dramatically transform this historic area for the better."
Business Owner's Perspective of WAAP

"We're excited to anticipate completion of the Westside Avenue Action Plan project," said John. "After all these years, witnessing the much needed improvements for this important tourist area is nothing short of amazing.," he said. "This is a huge project and though the current construction phase is a lot more than a little inconvenient for everyone in the area, businesses and residents alike, it will be beautiful when it is done."

The goal of the $30.9 million WAAP project is to improve safety, mobility and provide the momentum for renewed economic vitality along the 1.5-mile corridor of Manitou and W. Colorado avenues from 31st Street to the U.S. 24 Interchange. The corridor connects the two historic districts of Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs.
 
The Hooton's experience with everyone involved in the WAAP project has been very positive. "Whenever we've had concerns or questions about the project, they are quickly addressed and, although sometimes the answers are not comfortable to hear, we understand schedules and impacts for the coming months," said John. "We are grateful the Timber Lodge is not open during the winter months. With construction happening directly in front of the lodge, it would be a challenge for guests to get in and out," he said. "But on the upside, we have a 'front row seat' to construction of the new Adams Crossing Bridge, so we're very aware of the ingenuity this project is taking to complete, and the very long hours the crews are working to get the project completed as quickly as possible. All the businesses along Manitou and W. Colorado appreciate that and look forward to the December completion."