Improving the odd layout of U.S. Highway 6 as it approaches the town of Palisade — with its unpredictable mix of frontage roads, turn-offs and multi-lane configurations — has been a goal of town officials for years.
The effort has begun anew with a plan to bring order to a stretch of the key roadway from an area near the town's civic center to the Colorado River.
An open house for residents to get a glimpse of the plan is set for today, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Palisade Board Chambers, 341 W. Seventh St.
The open house is a prelude to town trustees' regularly scheduled public board meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. in the same location.
The preliminary design plan — which would extend from a spot just west of where Highway 6 intersects Iowa Avenue, eastward to before the bridge over the Colorado River — calls for an 8-foot sidewalk, 6-foot bike lane, a 12-foot travel lane and an 18-foot-wide landscaped median.
That would be a major improvement over the frontage roads, irregular sidewalks, and lack of multimodal access that exists now.
After the open house — in which light refreshments will be served and residents are asked to inspect proposed 2020 plans to improve streets, sidewalks, railroad crossings and crosswalks — the board of trustees will consider a request to apply for an $800,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation, as part of that agency's Transportation Alternatives Program Grant cycle.
The town officials said that if they get the CDOT grant, they'll match it with $800,000 of town money.
The CDOT grant isn't the only money sought by the town to help streamline U.S. Highway 6, which serves essentially as the western entrance to the town.
Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson told The Daily Sentinel earlier this year that Palisade would apply for a $1.7 million matching grant through Grand Valley Transit. That grant would fund landscaping, eliminate a driving lane and add a bike lane to the road, Hawkinson said.
The effort to revamp the patchwork corridor — which is ultimately under CDOT's jurisdiction — has been in the town's sights for years, with little actual progress toward improvements.
A 2012 planning effort for the roadway extended from Palisade High School to the river. Proposals included ideas to redesign three main intersections — Elberta Avenue and Eighth Street, Iowa Avenue and Eighth Street, and the area where Eighth intersects Kluge Avenue and Brentwood Drive.
Planners from Grand Junction worked with staff from the town of Palisade and the Palisade Planning Commission, as well as CDOT professionals and other transit and utility representatives, to coordinate the plan.
No funding was attached to the plan, though, and grant funding seen as key to the plan moving forward did not materialize.