I feel sorry for the folks in the modest Mesa Springs neighborhood. It’s boundaries, generally, are Fillmore Street on the north, Interstate 25 on the east, Uintah Street on the south and, eventually, Centennial Boulevard will be its western border once the extension is completed.
And that’s the problem. Mesa Springs has lived with construction turmoil all around it for years.
Mesa Springs is a small neighborhood west of Interstate 25, south of Fillmore Street and north of Uintah Street.
It was at Ground Zero for the COSMIX expansion of I-25 and erection of a massive sound barrier wall. That project brought tons of extra traffic down its main drag, Chestnut Street, as commuters seeking to dodge construction went racing back and forth.
Then the neighborhood’s character was changed with the addition of a major furniture store, which also added traffic volume to the area.
On its western edge, it watched as bulldozers began carving in the extension of Centennial and construction of new homes. But that project lurched to a halt leaving the road unfinished and many empty houses.
Now, it’s staring down the barrel of another major project. I call it the Parker Street Shuffle. The city is planning to close Chestnut at Fillmore. If you look at this aerial photo, you see why.
It’s not a simple intersection. It’s a convoluted mess thanks to the entrance and exit ramps of I-25 which converage at the spot.
Further complicating the dangerous intersection is the traffic trying to get in and out of two gas stations and the impact of motorists roaring down the steep incline of Fillmore from the west.
The intersection has long needed to be rebuilt. The entire Fillmore bridge needs to come down, for that matter, and the ramps widened and lengthened.
Anybody have a spare $50 million? Here’s a look at the entire mess from FlashEarth.com.
Didn’t think so.
And the city doesn’t have the $14.5 million it would take to bury Chestnut under Fillmore and keep it open.
But thanks to the one-cent sales and use tax that funds the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, an extra $6.5 million exists to make changes at Chestnut.
Here’s the preliminary plan: close Chestnut at Fillmore and build a bypass west around the nasty intersection via Parker, which becomes a long cul de sac. It will require buying a couple houses on Parker but the rest of the route will cross vacant land.
This is the tentative design for the plan to close Chestnut Street at Fillmore Street and reroute it west via Parker Street.
The Colorado Department of Transportation bought five houses on Chestnut a few years ago anticipating the eventual reconstruction of the Fillmore bridge.
And today CDOT is negotiating to buy the two gas stations to clear the intersection altogether.
The city expects to announce the date this week of a public meeting on the Parker Street Shuffle. If all goes well, construction could begin in the summer of 2012.
Follow this link to a May 21, 2011, story by Debbie Kelley about the project.
For the Oct. 3, 2010, paper, I wrote this column on Mesa Springs.
Here’s a blog I wrote in October 2010 on the project.