Overpass well under way on 29 Road

It’s hard to ignore workers setting steel and concrete piers off Interstate 70 Business Loop. Cement barriers diverting traffic to the road’s north side have popped up and should stay that way until the spring as workers create the 29 Road overpass, according to project officials.

The project’s $20.3 million construction costs are to be split evenly by the city and county, and the entire project appears to be keeping within budget and on time for its November 2011 completion date, Mesa County Project Manager Louie Dorlac said.

“Once you get those columns starting to go up, people really start to notice,” he said.

As a hint to speeders, Dorlac said Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputies have been nabbing motorists traveling faster than the posted 40 mph limit in the construction zone.

The new overpass will go over the business loop and the railroad tracks to connect 29 Road where it previously was disconnected, causing drivers to go several miles out of their way to get back to 29 Road.

Creating an overpass is less costly than creating an underpass, such as the one the goes beneath the railroad tracks near 30 Road and the business loop.

Engineers would have placed an overpass in that area, but an overpass requires more available space, Dorlac said.

Workers are reinforcing the ground on the south side in preparation for the overpass. Soils in the area can withstand the weight of 2,000 pounds per square foot, but workers are improving the ground with road base to withstand the necessary 6,000 pounds per square foot, Dorlac said.

Workers are attempting to get the work finished before snowy weather moves in.

Warm fall weather has been a boon to the road crews. If the temperature holds, they will be able to pave the frontage road from 29 Road to Morning Glory Lane and 29 Road from North Avenue to Teller Avenue.

All businesses along the business loop and in the construction zones remain accessible during the duration of the project.

The overpass will be lined with wide sidewalks, but it will not have striped lanes for bicycles, Dorlac said.

“Once this piece is connected, the whole north/south and Riverside Parkway will be complete, like it’s supposed to be in the valley’s transportation plan,” Dorlac said.

Dorlac, a county employee of 28 years, said initial plans for a 29 Road overpass were drawn up in 1978.

The complete picture includes connecting 29 Road to Interstate 70, but there are no immediate plans or funding identified for that project.

“With the economy the way it is, who knows when that will be,” Dorlac said.


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