Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Mary Wolbach Lopert

71st Street project pushed back to 2020


April 18, 2019

Photo courtesy of Boulder County Transportation

Phase 2 of the 71st Street project includes a wider road, with paved shoulders and a redesigned access to Highway 52. Phase 2 will begin sometime after Phase 1 has been completed.

According to its 2017 original schedule, 71st Street in Gunbarrel was due for complete reconstruction beginning in spring 2019. Instead, the project has been rescheduled to start in early winter 2020.

In terms of the total project, it still included:

  • Full reconstruction of 71st Street from Lookout Road to Highway 52
  • Widening the road to include paved shoulders
  • Improved pedestrian crossing for the LoBo Trail
  • New mixed-use path on the west side of the road from Lookout Road to the Gunbarrel Business Park

It will, however, will be completed in two phases.

Tim Swope, capital program coordinator for Boulder County Transportation Department, said “We hope to be under construction for the first phase from Lookout Road to Winchester Business Park sometime this winter, so early 2020.” The second phase, Winchester Circle to Highway 52, “will start soon after the first phase.”

The project is being split into two phases to ensure that the companies in the business park have access for employees and deliveries.

The cost of the project has gone up some since the 2017 estimate. The project was originally funded at $3 million. In an email, Swope said. “Construction of both phases of the 71st Street Project is anticipated to cost $3.9 million. Funding includes $860,000 federal grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation; $260,000 from the City of Boulder; and $2.8 million from Boulder County’s Countywide Transportation Sales Tax.

“The Countywide Sales Tax was passed by voters in 2007 and funds a specific list of projects and programs including the 71st Street Shoulders. Information on the Sales Tax projects is available on the County’s website http://www.bouldercounty.org.”

“Nothing has changed other than the timeline has been pushed back a little bit,” Swope said.

This is the second time the project has been pushed back. According to Andrew Barth, construction was supposed to begin in this September and run through December. Swope said that they had run into some “snags”, those being finalizing the agreement with CDOT and some of the environmental permitting.

Photo courtesy of Boulder County Transportation

First-phase changes for 71st Street, from Lookout Road to Winchester Circle, include a multiuse path, improved trail crossing for the LoBo Trail, and paved shoulders when the street is widened. The project is scheduled to start in early winter 2020.

“We are still in discussions with the City of Boulder Open Space to make sure we do everything correctly when we replace culvert Dry Creek Number 2 that carries water underneath the road.” Both the Dry Creek and White Rock culverts will be extended out to fit the new road. Flood mitigation work on the Left Hand Ditch has already been completed,

While the overall design of the project hasn’t changed, Swope said, “We are working with some of the property owners who live along Glacier View (in Gunbarrel Estates) to make some drainage improvements and to add a sidewalk to the first block to add to the new multiuse path. The sidewalk would be on the north side of Glacier View. It would extend from 71st Street into the neighborhood.”

In terms of other county funded projects, Swope said, “Construction of a second multiuse path along Williams Fork Trail in Gunbarrel is also scheduled for construction this summer. The concrete path will connect the Twin Lakes trail to Spine Road. Anticipated cost is $1.5 million with funding from CDOT, the City of Boulder and Boulder County’s Countywide Transportation Sales Tax.”


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