Work on the Evergreen Lake North Trail will be delayed until fall because it is taking longer than expected to get the necessary approvals to do the construction.
That means the detour that will be in place through downtown Evergreen also will be in the September-to-December timeframe, which will allow downtown businesses to have a normal summer tourist season, but the change will have a greater impact on school traffic.
Chris Vogelsang with OV Consulting, who is overseeing the project for the Evergreen Park & Recreation District, said he expected the project would be advertised for contractors in April, and once the EPRD board selects a contractor, construction dates would be finalized.
He told downtown business owners at a Jan. 20 meeting that advertising the project by April was important because grant funders have deadlines that must be met. EPRD has gotten $4.16 million in grants from the Denver Regional Council of Governments, Colorado the Beautiful and local groups including the Evergreen Metropolitan District and the Evergreen Legacy Fund.
Vogelsang said he was disappointed that Jeffco’s final flood-plain approvals will take approximately three months. He had hoped the process would be faster.
“I’m feeling a little pressure now,” he said. “We have got to get this advertised.”
Moving the construction to the fall will mean some weather and temperature issues that Vogelsang believes can be overcome. He also will be talking with Jefferson County about its plan to widen and improve Highway 73 from downtown Evergreen to Buffalo Park Road, with that construction expected to start in spring 2023.
Plans call for a 10-foot-wide concrete trail along Evergreen Parkway and a soft-surface trail along the lakeshore. Once the new trail is built, it will not be plagued with washouts like the current trail, which has been closed on and off for several years.
During construction, Evergreen Parkway along the lake is expected to be down to one lane, and the detour will divert northbound traffic through downtown Evergreen to Meadow Drive while southbound traffic will travel on Evergreen Parkway.
In response to questions, Vogelsang said he would reach out to the Jeffco Public Schools transportation office and to local first responders this spring to discuss the detour’s impacts. He said he’s been waiting until he had a better idea of the construction timeline before starting those conversations.
Business owners reminded Vogelsang that they wanted to ensure pedestrians could move through downtown during construction, that signs let motorists know the businesses in the Lakepoint Center and Keys on the Green were still open, and that large semi trucks that deliver food to downtown restaurants could get in and out.
In addition, Nancy Judge, Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce president, asked that the EPRD website be updated regularly with current information about the project, so businesses and the public would be informed of the project’s progress.
“It’s important for us to stay on top of that,” EPRD board member Peg Linn said.
The downtown business owners are meeting on the third Thursday of the month to discuss the project. The next meeting will be at 8 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, in the conference room above the Muddy Buck.