Avon’s $3.8 million ‘road diet’ becoming permanent, will enhance non-car travel
AVON — After years of planning, construction began this month on streetscape improvements for Beaver Creek Boulevard, and will continue for the rest of the summer.
The project, which will narrow the roadway to make room for wider sidewalks, more parking and continuous bike lanes, is expected to be complete by Nov. 1.
The cost on the project is $3,827,000, which includes a 5 percent contingency of $180,350.
While the idea dates back approximately three years, the project was first tested in 2016 and billed by the town as a “road diet,” or narrowing of the existing road. The town is now calling it “The Beaver Creek Blvd Streetscape Improvements Project,” and has seen several iterations in the years that followed the test. The Town Council settled on a design that includes 11-foot vehicle travel lanes, 6-foot to 10-foot wide sidewalks, more crosswalks, approximately 25 parallel parking spaces, left turn lanes into Christie Lodge and Avon Center, and reconfigured Sun Road and Lake Street intersections for improved visibility.
CONTINUOUS BIKE LANE
The project will also create a 4-foot continuous bike lane between the vehicle travel lanes and parking spaces.
Avon Town Engineer Justin Hildreth says the bike lanes will add a new level of connectivity to the town.
“It will make our bike lanes continuous from U.S. Highway 6 by Agave, all the way to Post Boulevard on Beaver Creek Boulevard,” Hildreth said. “So that will be our main east-west bike route through town.”
The project will also include more landscaping along the road.
“The goal of the project is to make the road more attractive to pedestrians,” Hildreth said.
Following the 2016 test, a series of public meetings were held, where pedestrian safety was among the issues brought up by members of the public. Hildreth said along with more crosswalks, the addition of a median between the traffic lanes may help with safety.
“The medians will make it easier for pedestrians to cross the street, so they can cross one lane at a time,” he said.
By the end of 2016, the council had approved and budgeted the project, with $2.7 million allocated.
In April of 2018, the council approved an additional $915,204 for the project, bringing the total to $3,827,000.
“We relied on cost estimates from other people, and they were not entirely accurate,” said Project Engineer Jim Horsley.
Nevertheless, Horsley says the low bid put in by the contractor — Hudspeth Environmental Remediation and Construction Services — is a value, especially compared to some of the other projects he has seen. Value engineering on the Beaver Creek Boulevard Streetscape Improvements Project brought the cost down by $281,858.
“The Lake Street redesign was 10 years ago, and cost more,” Horsley said.