CDOT set to begin construction on final phase of Gap Project next week
Construction on the Colorado Highway 9 Gap Project is expected to resume next week, as the Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor Sema Construction work on a series of improvements on Summit Boulevard and its intersection with Frisco Main Street over the coming months.
Preliminary work kicked off this week with crews lining areas of Summit Boulevard and Main Street with traffic cones. Construction is expected to begin Monday, May 10, and once completed, the roadway will feature a new roundabout at Highway 9 and Eighth Avenue, a new signal at the Main Street intersection, upgraded pedestrian facilities and drainage improvements.
Work on the Gap Project began last May, and while residents and visitors traveling through the area were forced to deal with slower traffic and orange barrels dotting the road, the final result represented a considerable upgrade.
Phase 1 of the project included the widening of the highway to four lanes between Frisco and Iron Springs east of Frisco Adventure Park — creating two lanes in each direction for the first time between Frisco and Breckenridge — along with ancillary improvements like the installation of noise-mitigating walls and a new pedestrian underpass connecting the County Commons to the Peninsula Recreation Area.
“Like all construction projects, everyone looks forward to the end of it,” Frisco Communications Director Vanessa Agee said. “The Gap Project is no exception. It’s been going on for a number of years, the widening between Frisco and Breckenridge. That said, there are some really good things that have already come out of it, including pedestrian improvements. That includes the tunnel under Highway 9 … so we don’t have anybody playing Frogger across Highway 9.”
Phase 2 construction should last through mid-October. Work will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 7 a.m. to noon Fridays. Some weekend and night work is expected, as well, and will be announced in advance.
Motorists should expect delays as early as next week with a single-lane closure at the Main Street intersection. The Main Street intersection will never shut down entirely during construction, and CDOT hopes to finish that portion of the project by the end of June.
Around July 1, crews will put a temporary roundabout in place at Eighth Avenue, and traffic in each direction will be reduced to one lane through the work zone. The northbound left turn from Summit Boulevard onto Granite Street will also be closed, though the street will still be accessible via a left turn at Eighth Avenue. The speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph within the work zone.
While the finished product will help to improve the overall traffic flow in the area, town officials are also excited about how the new pedestrian options will improve connectivity through town.
“The next phase of this project is going to be even better for pedestrians and bikers,” Agee said. “(CDOT is) going to build recpaths along both sides of Highway 9 and tie them into the current recpaths, which is a fulfillment of the Frisco Master Trails Plan. … In the Main Street-Highway 9 intersections, we’ve seen pedestrians suddenly find themselves on the triangle on Main Street. … This will make it easier to cross to the marina, and they’ll be adding a crossing on Main Street right on the intersection with Highway 9.”
Agee said there would be work in the future to beautify the roundabouts so they aren’t just “dirt and weeds,” though the plans aren’t set and no timeline has been determined for when the additional work would be done.
“They will not stay the way they are left this summer,” Agee said. “There just isn’t a way to finish this project in an efficient way and do that work at the same time.”
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