Eagle’s busiest intersection — Eby Creek Road and Chambers Avenue — will get its makeover this year as crews return to town to complete the comprehensive construction project they began last summer.
When competed, the $15.2 million Eby Creek Road project will include four new roundabouts, improvements to the existing U.S. Highway 6 roundabout, additional travel lanes and a new pedestrian bridge over Interstate 70. Along with all that roadway work, landscaping and retaining walls will be installed.
In short, Eagle will have an entirely new entryway to town.
According to Matt Figgs, project manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation, utility work began this week. “Full road construction will start, hopefully, the middle of this week, weather depending,” he said.
Dozens of orange cones have made their reappearance along Eby Creek Road as traffic shifts similar to last summer’s, begin again. Figgs noted that like last year, Eagle motorist can expect two way traffic during the majority of the construction. Work that will require one-lane traffic will be conducted at night to minimize impacts to the traveling public.
‘I think a lot of folks expected a one lane road with flaggers and one of our goals is not to have that,” said Figgs.
The Chambers Avenue roundabout is the first project crews will tackle this year. Figgs noted that during the peak traffic hour during the morning (7 to 8 a.m.) well over 2,000 vehicles travel through the intersection. During the eveneing peak hour (5 to 6 p.m.) more than 2,400 cars are recorded at the intersection. Because of its heavy use, Figgs said crews have worked out a phasing plan so that impacts are minimized in that area.
“Obviously there will be delays and there are cones and impacts,” Figgs said. “But we are trying to accommodate the traveling public as best we can.”
One of the biggest concerns along Eby Creek Road is when traffic backs up and eventually impacts vehicles exiting I-70 at Eagle. Figgs noted that as part of the construction planning, the traffic signals on Eby Creek Road can be operated manually so crews can address backups before they become dangerous.
In fact, ensuring operational traffic lights is one of the first projects for construction crews in 2014. Temporary traffic signals will be set up at the Chambers Avenue intersection to regulate motorists until the roundabout becomes operational.
Actual roundabout construction will look like last year’s efforts, with separate concrete sections built and then ultimately joined together. After crews finish the Chambers Avenue work, they will move on to expand and reconfigure the U.S. Highway 6 roundabout and then the Market Street roundabout. Work at Market Street is expected to commend by July.
Concurrently with the roundabout work, crews will be building the new pedestrian bridge over I-70. The bridge will be a striking new town entry feature, but most importantly, it will solve safety issues.
“The bridge will be an extremely important improvement for pedestrian movement through the corridor,” said Figgs.
Other projects slated for completion include construction of a new public bus stop along the road and utitity upgrades along the corridor.
“We will have landscaping and lighting done this year,” Figgs continued. “And we anticipate being completely done by the end of the calendar year.”
During a special open house held in Eagle last week, Figgs said a sizeable crowd of local residents assembled to get an update about the Eby Creek Road project.
“Everyone was excited — excited to see it done and excited to see the traffic light at Chambers go away,” said Figgs.
He noted that project team plans to continue last year’s outreach efforts and noted anyone who has questions about the Eby Creek Road construction can call 970-432-7876 or emgin I70eagle@PUblic InfoTeam.com.
For information about the project visit www.coloradodot.info/projects/i70ateagle/i-70-eagle-interchange-project.