With construction underway at the intersection of Quebec Street, Lincoln Avenue and University Boulevard, a few of the surrounding neighborhoods have expressed concerns about safety and congestion.
The Douglas County Public Works department and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office have worked together to implement measures that will help the county monitor and evaluate the impact of the construction traffic.
Daniel Roberts, the assistant director for the county’s public works operations, said the public works team looked at what impacts there would be during the construction and despite different options, the team recognizes it’s a large intersection with a high volume of traffic passing through it each day, making it likely that there will be some impacts.
Altogether, the ongoing project will take place in seven phases.
Roberts said the goal with this project is to keep through lanes open in all directions during all phases of construction, including during rush hours.
The county will be enforcing the contractor’s hours from early morning until 8:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and after 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., to help keep lanes open at different times of the day. This information can be found on the county’s website at https://rb.gy/u8r9o.
“There may be an occasion where we have to extend those [times],” said Roberts. “Like on a day that they’re placing concrete, just from a worker safety standpoint.”
Also, between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Roberts said crews might close down to one lane so there is adequate room to work, which is what took place during the first phase as they had to tear out the raised medians.
Once the right turn lane concrete is replaced in the northbound direction, the next phase will replace two northbound lanes and is expected to be done by early November.
In addition to monitoring traffic through cameras, they have added Uniform Traffic Control around the neighborhoods. A speed radar sign will be installed to give the county a count of vehicles that are speeding as well as the number of vehicles passing and restrict some of the turn movements which will most likely change in the next phase of construction.
Caroline Frizell, a communications manager at Douglas County, said the county is using multiple forms of communication to be as clear as they can about what to expect at the intersection.
The county has updated the project website weekly with detailed information concerning each direction of the intersection. The county is also using social media, Nextdoor and traffic alert emails which send out monthly emails to subscribers.
Starting Sept. 7, the county launched a text alert program. People can sign up for text alerts by texting ‘QLUnews’ to 21000. The county notes messages and data rates may apply.
Text alerts will be issued for extreme differences, such as paving, equipment issues and weather conditions.
With a lot of traffic coming from the south out of Castle Pines, crews will put up a detour sign to get people to turn onto McArthur Ranch Road and go around the intersection in hopes to reduce traffic.
“If we can minimize the amount of backups we get, we think we can minimize the amount of impact it has there,” said Roberts.
Public works and the county considered closing the intersection completely but saw there were no great detour routes and would have had an impact on residents and also considered night-time construction.
“Night construction basically impacts everybody that lives within a half a mile and the sound carries a long way,” said Roberts.
To try to eliminate some of the cut through traffic going through the southeast neighborhoods, crews put up a barricade as an emergency measure. After reviewing it with their leadership team and the sheriff’s office, they took the barricade down.
“It helps block cut-through traffic,” said Roberts. “But it does create some safety concerns.”
Public works discourages people from cutting through neighborhoods as residential streets are not intended for that kind of volume.
The construction project will shut down in November and pick back up in the spring due to weather. Roberts said there will not be a lane barricaded off all winter.
The project is anticipated to end around September of next year.