Clifton lane turning to thoroughfare

Five years ago, 33 Road in Clifton was a narrow, two-lane, country road lined mostly by farms and plagued by a history of car accidents.

By the end of next year, a 1 1/2-mile stretch of the road will be a wider, safer, urban street, capable of handling increased traffic.

Mesa County public works officials are preparing to embark on the last two phases of an $8 million project to improve 33 Road between D 1/2 and F roads.

The county’s Regional Transportation Planning Office designated the road as a primary north-south corridor in the county because it was the only road that could serve as an alternate route should 32 Road be blocked for any reason, said Mike Meininger, county engineering division director.

Meininger said the number of traffic accidents along 33 Road was a driving force behind the improvements, too. Between 2000 and 2005, when the project started, there were nearly 50 accidents in the corridor, he said. At that time, there was no traffic signal at the intersection of 33 and F roads.

“There was increasing development along the corridor, and the needs were just growing as time went by,” Meininger said.

The project entails widening the road to three lanes with a center turn lane and installing curb, gutter and sidewalks on both sides of the street. Workers also replaced a bridge over the Grand Valley Canal.

The final phase of the project, which will start this year and finish next year, will extend the improvements from E 1/2 to F. Part of that work, which will entail installing ramps at intersections for people with disabilities, will require using portions of private property along 33 Road.

The county will begin acquiring that property from land owners later this month, and construction will begin in August, according to county property agent Stacey Mascarenas.

Bud Thompson, who has lived on a half-acre on 33 Road for 30 years, will have to give up a piece of his front yard for the project. But he has no problem with that.

“We’re all for the project,” he said. “It’ll do nothing but improve the road.”


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