Boulder County Transportation Discusses Upcoming Projects in Niwot
February 17, 2016
Recent construction projects seem to have no end in sight, which is why many people are wary when they hear of a future construction project in their neighborhood. That’s why Boulder County Transportation (BCT) held an open house meeting at the Left Hand Grange on Wednesday, Feb. 10, to discuss two upcoming projects with the Niwot community.
Over 20 people filtered into the Grange to hear about two projects—one a culvert replacement at North 83rd Street and Dry Creek Road, and the other, reconstruction of both 83rd Street and Neva Road.
The culvert replacement is slated to begin sometime this summer and will last approximately six months. Dave Webster, project engineer for BCT, said the existing culvert is falling apart and undersized for flooding; the new one will be able to withstand another 100 year flood.
“It’s going to have plenty of capacity,” Webster said of the culvert. “One of the things we do as a signature treatment on our new structures, is we do a formliner treatment to the concrete so that is has a textured look, so it’s decorative in nature.”
The existing culvert is made of a 72 inch round, metal pipe, and the new culvert will be an 18 by 10 foot box, concrete culvert with wings on the sides. The sewer line will also be lowered to accommodate the larger structure.
Replacing a culvert is a large undertaking, which some community members were concerned about. “We’re going to have the road closed during this period we’re doing the culvert replacement, really because it’s such a large undertaking,” Webster explained. “Ideally we would do it when school’s not in session, but we can’t guarantee it’s going to turn out that way.” Road closures will be implemented for about two to three months during the project.
After the first project is complete, the reconstruction of 83rd Street and Neva Road will begin in summer 2017. Webster said, “We are intending to reconstruct North 83rd Street, from north of the culvert replacement project [and] south back to Niwot Road. With that, there will be trail improvements, on the west side of 83rd … [and] the at grade crossing is going to be made better.
“The road will be reconstructed to have a shoulder on the side for northbound bike riders,” Webster said. “We don’t really do bike lanes in Boulder County. We basically reconstruct roads so we have about a four to five-foot shoulder for bike riders.”
Tim Swope, capital project coordinator for BCT, added because the road is “so old, we need to grind up what’s there now, reshape the road and repave it. It’s a much smaller project but it’ll be longer.”
Neva Road will be reconstructed west to the “Y” of 5th Avenue and Franklin Street. “I know there are speed concerns for what’s going on with Neva,” he said. “One of the plans I know for Neva is to make it narrower than it is currently, because it’s a really wide roadway. I think when folks get on that big, wide, open road they feel like it’s easy to drive fast.”
Other community members commented that they like the size of Neva, it’s sort of a “wide, lazy country road,” one person said. Another person said that a “regular road would take away some of its charm.”
Even though Neva Road would only be downsized by 8 feet (it’s currently 32 feet wide), BCT employees said they will take all the community’s concerns and feedback into consideration. “We’re hoping to make it a little narrower than it is now, but it’s still going to be a standard 24-foot road—it’ll be pretty wide,” Swope said.
Swope added, “As a third project, we’re working with the railroad to replace the railroad crossing at 83rd street.” Although it may seem like many projects happening at once around 83rd Street, Swope said these reconstructions will last for decades and will be well worth any headaches they cause.
“The purpose of our open house meetings is really just to show the public what we’re going to do, and then most importantly hear back from them,” Swope said. “The biggest advantage we get from that [is] hearing what people think, because they’re the ones living on the road. We get a lot of information, but at the same time tell the public what to expect over the next year or two.”
As for what BCT’s next steps are, they will be seeing how they can implement people’s concerns into their designs to provide a win-win situation for everyone.
“We’ll take people’s comments and see what it means design-wise, cost-wise, and any other impacts it will have, and try to come up with the best design we can,” he said. “We’ll send out a notice to people about what we’re doing, and if they’re concerned we’ll come back out and meet with them again.”