Avon streetscape improvement project on pace for August finish

Beaver Creek Boulevard project will use new eco-friendly tech to water roadside vegetation

The Beaver Creek Boulevard Streetscape Project was expected to be complete by November, but after getting a late start and not putting enough resources into the project during the early phases, contractor Hudspeth Inc. will now have to finish the project during the summer of 2019.
John LaConte | Daily file photo

AVON — The town of Avon is now eyeing an August completion for the Beaver Creek Boulevard streetscape improvement project, commonly known as the road diet.

Local businesses were briefed Wednesday on the progress of the project, which was originally slated for a 2018 completion but hit delays last year after the contractor, Hudspeth & Associates, changed ownership during the project.

Avon Project Engineer Jim Horsley said he has been out on the job site every day ensuring crews are on schedule.

“Weather hasn’t been great but we’re confident we can still get it done in early August,” Horsley said.

West phase finishing soon

The road diet will narrow Beaver Creek Boulevard from a multi-lane road into a single, 11-foot vehicle travel lane with 6-foot to 10-foot-wide sidewalks. The project will also add more crosswalks, approximately 25 parallel parking spaces, left turn lanes into Christie Lodge and Avon Center, and will reconfigure the Sun Road and Lake Street intersections for improved visibility.

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In 2016, the Avon Town Council approved and budgeted the project, with $2.7 million allocated. In April 2018, the council approved an additional $915,204 for the project, bringing the total to $3,827,000, with a contingency of $180,350.

The project is broken up by Avon Road, creating an east phase and a west phase. Horsley said the west phase will be completed first.

“Any day now in the next week we should see striping on the west side, some finishing touches on the west side,” he said on Wednesday.

Water-friendly landscaping

The streetscape improvements will employ new water-quality improving technology and smart landscaping systems designed to only water vegetation when necessary.

Rain gardens will capture water from the street in a graded basin, where the runoff from the pavement will settle and provide moisture for the plants and trees along the road.

Water running into the river from the road has been identified as the main cause of water quality degradation in Eagle County’s streams and rivers, something that is of primary concern to the Eagle River Watershed Council. Watershed council Director Holly Loff said Avon’s streetscape improvement project goes a long way in helping to reduce the problems associated with roadway runoff entering the Eagle River.

“Without water being able to soak through pavement, etc., without it being stopped by the vegetation around the streams, it’s just running into the streams with all that pollution that it picks up along the way,” Loff said.

Alongside Beaver Creek Boulevard, you’ll soon see select spots where the curb will be cut and replaced with a rain garden.

“Instead of hard piping it all the way from the road to the river,” Horsley said, “any kind of these detention structures we can add between the street and the river is great.”

The rain gardens will filter trash and sediment out of the water through a baffle structure, which will have to be cleaned once per year as a part of the town’s regular maintenance, Horsley said. The remaining water will then be used to water the plants and trees along the road. When the town encounters a long period with no moisture, a sensor will activate a backup irrigation system.

“The rain-sensing technology on irrigation that’s available now is a huge help to water conservation and runoff,” Loff said. “When the town of Avon came to us with this idea that they wanted to put rain gardens in, we were extremely excited, and we very much encouraged that. We really see them as a model and we hope that the other towns in the county follow suit … they’re doing it right, they’ve really thought it through.”

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