LONGMONT — Workers have closed a section of 17th Avenue on the city’s east side as they finish widening and straightening the twisty, accident-prone road.
In the past three years, there have been 25 reported accidents on the half-mile stretch of 17th Avenue between Ute Creek Drive and County Line Road.
The formerly quiet two-lane country road has seen a dramatic increase in traffic from the city’s new eastside neighborhoods. The road today curves around the west, south and east sides of Jim Hamm Pond.
Workers are moving the road a little to the south so it doesn’t have to wrap around the temporarily drained pond.
“The majority of accidents are on the curve around the pond,” said Joe Olson, the city’s traffic engineer. “We consider it a high accident location, and one of the reasons we want to get the project done is to get rid of the curves and make it safer.”
As part of the $1.2 million project, workers are adding two lanes to the road. Normally the city pays to add only one lane, which is used as a turn lane. But in this case, developers of the Eastgate neighborhood agreed to pay for a fourth lane, said project manager Curtis Ansel.
The section of 17th from Ute Creek Drive to County Line Road will be closed this week so workers can prepare and pave the new roadbed without worrying about passing cars. Paving was temporarily halted Tuesday because of lower-than-expected temperatures but is expected to resume today.
Stiff breezes rattled road signs and fanned dirt from piles Tuesday as workers filled and graded the road bed. The new road is expected to be open by next week, and more than half of it is already paved.
“We’re moving a lot of dirt today where the new 17th ties into the existing road,” Ansel said Tuesday.
In a few years, the city will likely widen County Line Road to four lanes. At that time, a traffic light will be installed at the intersection with 17th Avenue, Ansel said.
Trevor Hughes can be reached at 303-684-5220, or by
e-mail at email@example.com.