County OKs D 1/2 Road widening

Mesa County commissioners on Monday approved a contract for the first phase of a project that will widen D 1/2 Road and make it safer for students to walk to two area elementary schools.

The board signed off on a $571,307 contract with Mountain Valley Contracting of Grand Junction, which was nearly $200,000 less than the county engineer’s estimate.

The first phase, which will begin next week and be completed by the time school resumes in mid-August, will mostly cover the west end of D 1/2 Road between 30 Road and Abeyta Drive. Workers will widen the road for the addition of bicycle lanes, build 7-foot sidewalks and install crosswalks and crosswalk signals at Pear Park and Chatfield elementary schools.

“The basic concept is we want to provide the pedestrian improvements and bike lanes and center turn lane for what’s becoming a very busy corridor,” county Public Works Director Pete Baier said after the hearing.

The project, which will cover D 1/2 Road between 30 and 32 roads, is divided into four phases. The second phase will be completed later this year after school resumes in the fall. The third and fourth phases will wait until next year. D 1/2 Road will be closed to through traffic during construction.

Some 7,000 cars travel that stretch of D 1/2 Road each day, and officials estimate 200 of the 940 students who attend Pear Park and Chatfield elementary schools walk to school.

Baier said the crosswalk signals will be similar to those installed on 12th Street adjacent to Mesa State College, where pedestrians press a button to activate flashing lights. Currently, volunteers and parents hold up a stop sign if a child wants to cross D 1/2 Road.

County officials originally slated D 1/2 Road for improvements in 2013 and 2014 but moved up the work as part of a plan to finance $17.5 million worth of capital projects.

The D 1/2 Road project is expected to cost $6 million total. Should the actual cost be less than that, Commissioner Craig Meis said he wants to see the extra dollars allocated to other projects, such as improvements at the county fairgrounds.

In other business, commissioners approved a liquor license for next month’s Country Jam and an agreement that will pay the county $85,000 to provide security and health services for the music festival.


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