An aging bridge and the major east-west highway that runs beneath it are set for construction from mid-2022 to the end of 2023 in a project that hopes to better accommodate traffic on two of …
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An aging bridge and the major east-west highway that runs beneath it are set for construction from mid-2022 to the end of 2023 in a project that hopes to better accommodate traffic on two of Englewood's largest roads.
“In addition to reconstructing the bridge, modifications will be made to the ramps and approaching roadways to provide safer and more efficient movements through the interchange,” according to the city's overview for construction at South Broadway and U.S. Highway 285.
The project will add a third lane in both directions through the interchange on Highway 285, which in Englewood is synonymous with Hampden Avenue in some parts and Jefferson Avenue where the highway dips to the south.
It's also possible the project would add another turn lane in each direction on Broadway for a total of two turn lanes in each direction, but that is still to be determined.
Other updates abound: Wider sidewalks, low barriers between pedestrians and traffic, and “improved aesthetics” could all be part of the project, according to the city's website.
Those aesthetic improvements could see landscape architects adding light fixtures, concrete detailing and plantings. Officials may also consider “alternative materials such as brick or stone for sidewalks or retaining walls to further provide a sense of place,” the website reads.
The Broadway bridge was completed in 1955, and the ramps were completed in 1970, according to Jake Warren, the project manager for Englewood.
“Bridges built in the (1950s) and 60s had a typical service life of about 50 years,” Warren said. “Modern bridges are designed with an anticipated service life of 75 years.”
The project calls for an expanded bridge to accommodate the added lanes below on Highway 285.
“The bridge replacement gives the city the opportunity to improve on other substandard features on the (South) Broadway cross section as well,” the city's website reads.
Those improvements may include the wider sidewalks and buffer areas between pedestrians and traffic.
The city's website refers to the bridge area as “a keynote piece of infrastructure in the downtown district.”
The plan also touts that narrower lanes would promote safer driving as traffic enters the pedestrian-dense downtown area. Improved signage to help people find their way around the area may also be part of the project.
Some notable changes outside of the interchange itself may also occur: For example, to eliminate weaving and “provide a safe zone” for traffic merging onto Highway 285, access to Highway 285 from Sherman Street to the south would be fully removed.
“We will be working with representatives from Denver Fire and Englewood police to determine the nature of this 'barrier'” at Sherman, Warren said. “It may be as simple as just curbing the roadways there, or we may put in permanent barricades, such as bollards.”
Sherman Street at the north side of Highway 285 may become fully closed, or a right turn off westbound Highway 285 onto Sherman could be included, Warren said.
For cyclists and pedestrians, that would mean the traffic light and street crossing at Sherman Street would be removed. Cyclists and pedestrians would be rerouted a short distance east to the Little Dry Creek Trail.
Along Highway 285, on the north side, the Little Dry Creek Trail will serve as the sidewalk, Warren said. On the south side, the project may shift the sidewalk away from the ramps to create a “safer, more pleasant experience for pedestrians,” Warren said.
The design phase for the project started in early November and was to continue for some months in 2021. Construction is anticipated from spring or summer 2022 to the end of 2023.
The engineering firm ATKINS North America, referred to as “the consultant,” will coordinate with the Colorado Department of Transportation on an analysis of how the project may affect environmental resources. That's part of the National Environmental Policy Act's requirements for federally funded transportation projects.
The environmental resources evaluated as part of the that approval process include aspects such as air quality, noise, hazardous materials and permanent water quality, among others.
“Given that we'll have additional surface area from the extra lanes on 285, we'll include stormwater detention, such that there isn't an increase from historic flows being sent directly into Little Dry Creek,” Warren said.
How traffic will be detoured during the construction is yet to be confirmed.
The project draws from $7.6 million in federal funding, $0.8 million from the state and $1.2 million from the city.
A second public meeting in May and a third in October are tentatively scheduled.
See more information and the video of the Feb. 18 informational meeting on the city's website here.
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