Frisco and CDOT look ahead to traffic impacts of next Gap Project phase
Final phase of Highway 9 road construction set to begin in May
Frisco officials reviewed plans for the final phase of the Colorado Highway 9 Gap Project last week, hoping to get a better sense of how construction work will impact traffic and pedestrian connectivity through town this summer.
After years of planning, the Colorado Department of Transportation began construction last May on the project, which is ultimately meant to help remove choke points between Frisco and Breckenridge by widening Highway 9 to four lanes.
Construction crews made considerable progress on the $14 million project last year, including the completion of the highway widening, roundabout at the Peak One Boulevard intersection, pedestrian underpass between the Frisco Adventure Park and County Commons, installation of noise walls and more.
Construction is expected to ramp back up for the second half of the project this May, with crews getting to work building a new roundabout at the intersection of Highway 9 and Eighth Avenue, and reconstructing the highway’s intersection with Main Street. Despite a lot of work to come, officials are hopeful they’ll be able to minimize impacts on the public.
“I think last year went pretty well,” said Grant Anderson, resident engineer for CDOT. “Hopefully everybody saw that we made a good attempt to keep traffic flowing even though we had a substantial amount of work to do. This year, I feel like it’s going to be about the same.”
The department provided council members with a broad overview of the construction schedule during a work session Tuesday, March 9, which broke down this year’s construction into four phases that would take place between May and October.
Among the major milestones in the schedule, crews are expected to open a temporary roundabout at Eighth Avenue around July 1 and should finish the bulk of the paving work by Sept. 15. Similar to last year, traffic alignments on the highway will have to shift throughout the project — mostly throughout June and July — while crews work on lanes heading in the other direction.
While the Main Street intersection won’t close down entirely, there will be a full reconstruction of the intersection, which will slow movement through the area and force traffic over to Granite Street. Officials are considering fast-tracking the Main Street intersection piece of the project — bringing in two crews to work 24 hours a day — to ensure that impacts are minimized and that Main Street pedestrian routes across the highway are opened as quickly as possible.
Plans also are already in the works to mitigate increased traffic volumes on Granite Street and the Seventh Avenue crossing.
“Public works has also been looking at this and coming up with ideas for passive traffic calming on Granite,” said Public Works Director Jeff Goble. “… I certainly believe that we can do a temporary four-way stop there during construction.”
Officials with CDOT and contractor SEMA Construction said they would be able to work with the town to accommodate the opening of the Frisco Pedestrian Promenade during construction, noting that a walkable Main Street likely wouldn’t have major impacts on their work one way or another.
“I don’t think it’s a big impact either way,” Anderson said. “I think our impact is going to be bigger than the promenade either way. So if you do it, great, if you don’t do it, we can make adjustments either way.”
While construction work will certainly mean slower movement throughout the area this summer, the occasional traffic backup on Highway 9 and headaches for Frisco residents, officials are promising a smoother and safer driving experience once everything is completed, along with a much improved pedestrian experience.
“That is the bonus of this whole project,” Anderson said. “… This is going to be a lot better for the whole town once we’re done for pedestrians. We’re going to have sidewalk facilities on both sides — northbound and southbound — which we’ve never had before, and full accommodations at the roundabout. … We’ve got new sidewalks connecting basically the whole project when we’re done.”
Anderson said CDOT would work with Frisco on public outreach efforts closer to the start of the construction period so that residents would have up-to-date information on traffic impacts throughout the project.
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