Project begins to link Orchard Mesa to Grand Junction

Construction crews begin work Tuesday on the viaduct to connect 29 Road with the Interstate 70 Business Loop. This work was taking place between I-70B and the railroad tracks.

Construction has begun on an interchange that will connect 29 Road from Orchard Mesa to north Grand Junction.

The 29 Road interchange project includes building a 29 Road bridge that will begin to rise north of D 1/2 Road, carry travelers over railroad tracks and the Interstate 70 Business Loop, begin to dip again north of the I-70B frontage road and end at Teller Avenue. Traffic lights will be installed at the new intersection of Teller Avenue and 29 Road, where drivers can choose to turn left or right and loop around to join westbound or eastbound business loop traffic. Traffic lights will be installed at the new intersection of Teller Avenue and the business loop. Teller Avenue will curve down to the business loop after construction.

Drivers traveling east on the business loop will have the option of pulling onto the new 29 Road bridge from a ramp that will be built to the south of I-70B, west of the interchange.

The project should be done by October or November 2011, according to Grand Junction City Project Manager Paul Jagim and Mesa County Project Manager Louie Dorlac. The city and the county are splitting the $19.3 million cost of the interchange project with help from a $3.2 million energy-impacts grant from the Department of Local Affairs.

The winning project bid from Littleton-based Lawrence Construction Co. came in about $1 million under the city’s projected cost, something Jagim credits to a slump in the construction industry.

“We definitely saw some discounted pricing by bidding it out when we did,” he said.

Jagim said Lawrence hired local subcontractors to do pipe work, traffic control, asphalt and paving and to install curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

Preliminary work on the viaduct began a couple weeks ago, although Monday marked the first official day of the project, Jagim said. This week, passersby will notice the start of construction of the ramp on the south side of I-70B. In addition, 29 Road from north of the business loop to Teller Avenue will be closed. The closure is permanent because the interchange will be built over that area.

Single lanes of I-70B will be closed from time to time as construction continues. Dorlac said contractors will try to limit those lane closures to times when the roadway is less-heavily traveled.

Eventually, Dorlac said, 29 Road will have an on-ramp at Interstate 70. For the time being, though, he said there are “no plans for an environmental impact plan to start that.”

“It depends on the economy, because that will be a very expensive project,” he said.

The viaduct is the third phase of construction in the area around 29 Road and I-70B. Sorter Construction built roadway and installed storm drain pipe and irrigation pipe in the area of Teller Avenue, Melody Lane, Sparn Street, Gunnison Avenue and I-70B frontage road between June 2009 to this May for $1.35 million.


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