3rd phase of highway work starts Monday
The next phase of construction to widen and improve U.S. Highway 6&50 between the downtown Grand Junction area and Mesa Mall will begin Monday, meaning the thousands of motorists who travel the highway each day should expect some traffic delays and reduced speed limits for the next several months.
The work will cover the stretch of U.S. 6&50 between 25 Road and roughly 1,000 feet east of Rimrock Avenue where the highway splits off toward North Avenue and First Street.
The project consists of expanding the highway to three lanes in each direction, replacing the asphalt driving surface with concrete, burying overhead utility lines, improving storm-sewer lines and installing medians, lighting and landscaping and sidewalks.
The $7.3 million project will be partially subsidized by FASTER funds, which are additional transportation dollars approved by the Colorado Legislature from increased motor vehicle registration fees. The balance will be covered by state and federal dollars, according to Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks.
Officials say they will maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction throughout the duration of construction. Traffic initially will be pushed to the eastbound lanes while the westbound lanes are replaced, then moved to the westbound lanes while the eastbound lanes are placed. In the final phase, traffic will be routed to the far outside lanes in each direction while the center turn lanes and median are replaced.
All business accesses will be maintained, although they may be altered at times. Tom Newland, project public information manager, said project managers will meet with each business in the corridor before Monday to solicit input on how they can best provide access during construction.
During work hours, which will primarily be between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, the highway speed limit will slow from 45 mph to 35 and left turns will be allowed only at signalized intersections. Short traffic stops also may occur.
Newland said he believes the reconstruction of U.S. 6&50, which began in 2011, has been successful in its goal of sprucing up the corridor and accommodating additional traffic. Roughly 30,000 vehicles travel the highway each day now, and that number is projected to increase to 40,000 in 2030.
“I think it’s worked out great,” Newland said during a CDOT media event Wednesday. “I like the look of it and congestion has been reduced.”
Eventually, improvements will extend east from where the highway turns into First Street, then Pitkin Avenue, to 15th Street. Funding will determine when the next phases of construction will take place.