Gypsum planning new roundabout in 2019 to combat school traffic
What: Roundabout project.
Where: Cooley Mesa Road, Valley Road in Gypsum.
Cost: $1.5 million.
When: The final design is slated for completion by Friday, Sept. 7, with construction planned for the spring of 2019.
GYPSUM — In most communities, there’s that one intersection that people try to avoid during certain times of the day.
In Gypsum, that intersection is Cooley Mesa Road and Valley Road right before school starts and right after it lets out. For motorists stuck on the Cooley Mesa part of the intersection, it’s a challenge to make a right-hand turn onto Valley Road and the wait to make a left-hand turn can seem interminable.
But a solution is on the way that could fix the problem by next school year. Gypsum plans to construct a new roundabout at the intersection in 2019.
Last week, the Gypsum Town Council approved a deal to pay $192,000 for 0.46 acres on the southeast side of the intersection to accommodate construction of the roundabout at the site. Along with the land purchase, the town and the owner negotiated an agreement to move a residential trailer located in the area. The town will pay an additional $80,000 trailer removal fee, and the structure must be moved by Feb. 28.
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According to assistant town manager and town engineer Jim Hancock, the roundabout project cost estimate is $1.5 million.
“We have been eyeing traffic up there for a long time,” Hancock said.
He noted the town’s 2010 traffic master plan called for a traffic signal at the site.
“In general, we haven’t seen the traffic flows that would require that,” Hancock said. “But while it’s not quite requiring a signal, we believe a roundabout will improve the traffic flow.”
Currently, cars on Valley Road have the right of way and there are no stop signs at the intersection.
By building a roundabout at the site, Hancock said there will be traffic gaps that will alleviate the Cooley Mesa Road backups.
“It will also be an answer to perennial concerns about pedestrians wanting to cross at the intersection,” Hancock added.
According to Gypsum Town Manager Jeremy Rietmann, the roundabout engineering is roughly 90 percent complete. The final design is slated for completion by Friday, Sept. 7. The project will be part of the town’s 2019 budget, and crews plan to start construction next spring.