Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

71st Street project set to begin...

But it will 'be on a break' before it is finished


December 18, 2019

Mary Wolbach Lopert

Linemen for Xcel Energy are relocating poles in preparation for improvements to 71st Street.

If you drove south on 71st to Lookout Road the week of Dec. 8, you probably experienced some delays. Xcel is repositioning power lines in advance of the long-awaited upgrades to 71st Street. Although the project was originally slated to begin in spring 2019, the Courier reported in April that the schedule had been pushed back to early winter 2020.

As previously reported, the project is divided into two phases. However, the first phase, which runs from Lookout Road to Winchester Circle/ Gunbarrel Technical Park won't start until late spring or possibly early summer 2020.

According to Tim Swope, capital program coordinator for Boulder County Transportation Department, after the first phase is completed, the county will give everyone "a break from construction." There is no timeline to begin the second part of the construction, which is "an entirely separate project," according to Swope. That project will run from Winchester Circle north to Highway 52.

The county views this southern section of the 71st Street project as more crucial due to safety issues. There is a large amount of pedestrian traffic on the side of the road, which the county views as dangerous. The road north of Winchester Circle isn't considered as that critical.

Swope said while the whole reconstruction project is fully funded - due to federal funding requirements and safety concerns along with avoiding conflict with other county projects - it was decided that the first phase needed to be done now. The county is still working on some contracts, permitting and property acquisitions, some of which the county has no control over.

What will be completed in this first phase is:

· 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 Winchester Circle/Gunbarrel Technical Park

Swope wasn't sure when the construction would begin, but he did say that it would definitely run through the summer. "After that we want to give everyone a break from construction and not put people through three years of suffering."


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