CDOT eyes late-October finish for Gap Project as supply shortages, weather cause minor delays
Construction crews continue to make progress on the Colorado Highway 9 widening project, known locally as the Gap Project, though supply shortages and rainy weather have created minor delays in the effort, according to Colorado Department of Transportation project manager Kevin O’Reilly.
CDOT and contractor Sema Construction have been working on the project for well over a year now. In May 2020, crews began work to widen the highway to four lanes between Frisco and Iron Springs east of the Frisco Adventure Park. The actual widening work was completed last year, along with the construction of noise-mitigation walls, an underpass between the Summit County Commons and the Peninsula Recreation Area and a roundabout at the intersection of Water Dance Drive and Highway 9.
Crews returned to work on the project in May this year to revamp the Frisco Main Street intersection and install a new roundabout at the Highway 9 and Eighth Avenue intersection. But O’Reilly said they’ve run into issues with asphalt supply and weather that would likely push back the project’s completion.
“The plant that produces the asphalt cement, I think they were doing some maintenance on the plant earlier this year, and they ran into some other issues, so it was causing issues for everybody getting asphalt cement,” O’Reilly said. “Some of the projects have been held up a little bit just due to the shortage. … So that’s why we really haven’t paved that much so far. …
“When we were putting in our storm sewers and all of that a few weeks ago, we’d be getting rain. … A few of the nights when we were getting rain, we couldn’t work that night, so we probably had a few weather delays also.”
O’Reilly said the delays would likely prove to be minor, however, and that instead of the planned end date in mid-October, construction work could linger until the end of October.
Otherwise, he said crews have been making good progress on the second and final phase of the $14 million project. O’Reilly estimated about 75% of the work has already been completed. Crews are wrapping up the underground installation of storm sewers and electric conduit, and they’ve already removed and installed the new traffic signals at the Main Street and Highway 9 intersection.
Moving forward, crews still need to bring the new roundabout into its final configuration and pave it, complete road-resurfacing work and finish off the new sidewalk and crosswalk installations.
In addition to better connectivity, O’Reilly said the upgraded Main Street intersection would provide better accessibility, as well, thanks to Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps and audible push buttons to assist individuals with vision impairments.
O’Reilly said ongoing street paving work would take place overnight to minimize traffic congestion. He noted that crews might have to close a section of Main Street closest to Highway 9 at some point, but a detour would be identified and communicated to the public beforehand.
Once completed, O’Reilly said the upgrades should create a better driving experience for motorists and improved access and safety for pedestrians.
“People are starting to get a little frustrated now that it’s a second season of construction in the area there,” O’Reilly said. “Things are coming along, and within a couple months here, this project will be wrapped up for the season. I think once it’s wrapped up, people will be very impressed with the new look of the roadway and all the new pedestrian amenities with the ramps, crosswalks and sidewalks where we’ve never had them before.”
In the meantime, drivers should expect continued delays traveling through the area as construction crews keep traffic aligned in one lane in each direction through the duration of the project.
Of note, officials are asking motorists to avoid using Miners Creek Road or the Bill’s Ranch neighborhood as a detour to move around construction. Increased traffic has caused poor conditions on the road, according to CDOT, and residents have raised concerns about motorists speeding through the neighborhood where their children play.
“Miners Creek Road is not a detour, and the sheriff is doing enforcement in there and writing people tickets,” O’Reilly said. “We just want to keep traffic out of there because it’s a neighborhood. Those roads are not really designed for heavier traffic volumes, and with kids going to school over there, it’s not the safest thing.”
As for traffic inside Frisco proper, Frisco Police Chief Tom Wickman said drivers have adjusted to the new alignments after a rough start to the construction season.
“We had about five to seven accidents from people failing to yield on Summit Boulevard,” Wickman said. “But that has calmed down to being almost nonexistent. People are actually being courteous. The fact of the matter is it’s not going to be done until about Nov. 1. So there was an adjustment period.”
Daytime work is currently scheduled throughout the rest of the project from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 7 a.m. to noon on Fridays. Nighttime work takes place when necessary between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
For more information or updates, community members can call the project hotline at 970-363-5100.
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