Holiday break set for roadwork on U.S. Highway 6&50
Construction along U.S. Highway 6&50 between 24 and 243⁄4 roads will come to a temporary end next week, with work resuming after the holidays.
Project spokesman Tom Newland said contractor Lawson Construction decided to give retailers and shoppers a break from construction for the holiday shopping season and wants crews to be out of the highway in time for Black Friday.
“We’re aggressively trying to get it done by the weekend,” Newland said. But weather delays mean “the last work day will probably be Tuesday.”
Before construction pauses, all intersections and turn lanes will be paved, all cones and signs will be taken away, and some curbs and gutters will be installed, Newland said. Medians, some curbs and sidewalks, and landscaping will remain unfinished, and some dirt shoulders will be marked off with delineators, which are upright orange cylinders.
Business owners near the construction area, including those in Grand Mesa Center and Mesa Mall, said they are happy to hear construction will cease for the holidays, but opinions vary on how construction affected sales this fall.
Borders General Manager Glenda Reust said she sees the construction as “a fact of life” and something retailers “just have to go through,” but she won’t miss it during retail’s make-or-break shopping weeks.
“Every dollar counts this season,” she said.
Reust said she noticed more customers trying to avoid traveling in and out of Grand Mesa Center at peak traffic times, and some customers have complained about access to Border’s bookstore at 2464 U.S. Highway 6&50.
“A lot of the grumble is: ‘It’s hard to get in here, and you can’t get out, and I just try to avoid this whole place,’ ” Reust said.
Genghis Grill Manager David Gressett said construction has affected his restaurant at 2474 U.S. Highway 6&50.
“We’re a lot slower than we were this time last year,” he said.
Across the large parking lot at Old Navy at 2464 U.S. Highway 6&50, though, store manager Freda Psenick said she hasn’t heard any complaints from customers, and sales haven’t faltered. She did say, though, she thinks the construction break is a good idea.
“They hit some electric lines, and we were blacked out a few times, so it’s going to be better” without that to worry about, she said.
Up the street at Mesa Mall, 2424 U.S. Highway 6&50, marketing manager Jammie McCloud said she hasn’t seen much of an impact to sales as a result of the construction.
Some of the ways in and out of the mall have dirt patches where medians and landscaping will be, but McCloud said she’s confident traffic flow won’t be a problem for shoppers with cones and workers cleared from the area.
“It’s not going to look like a finished project, but people will be able to get in and out,” she said.
Judy Panozzo, who owns Victoria Rose Bridal Parlor at 2454 U.S. Highway 6&50, said she hasn’t seen much of a difference in sales since construction began, and she even had a good sales month in August.
Some of her neighbors that rely on foot traffic have grumbled about the work, but Panozzo said she and others notice that people will find a way to shop if there’s something they really want.
“If they want to get in, they’ll find a way,” Panozzo said.
Newland said construction will resume in late February or early March, or as early as January if weather permits. He estimated there are about eight to 12 weeks of work left on the project.
The $9.36 million lane-widening project began in July and originally was scheduled to end Nov. 17, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation website.
Newland said the project encountered a few setbacks, including rainy weather, “poor soils” under old lanes and the unexpected discovery of some underground utility lines that had not appeared on maps. Delays in projects that include digging around grounded utility lines are not uncommon, CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said.
“Any time you remove concrete on a highway, you can run into challenges that can delay the project,” she said.