Aug 282003
 
Authors: Jamie Way

On Tuesday, the Fort Collins City Council will discuss whether a plan to reallocate $6.5 million originally dedicated to traffic projects will be put onto the ballot.

The money had originally been allotted to a Highway 14 truck by-pass route and to a Prospect Road improvements project, but the newly proposed ballot would transfer these funds to the Prospect and Timberline and the Harmony and Shields intersections projects, totaling an estimated $18.9 million.

The Timberline project would expand the road to four lanes, and both projects would reconstruct the intersections and include, “enhanced crosswalks, medians with pedestrian refuge areas, handicap ramps, bike lanes, concrete pavement and new traffic signals,” according to The City of Fort Collins.

The Timberline and Prospect intersection received a “F” for service level, meaning people are often times forced to sit through three full light cycles before getting through an intersection.

“The Timberline (and) Prospect intersection is the most congested in the city,” said Transportation Services Director, Ron Phillips.

The Harmony and Shields intersection has the worst safety record in the city, resulting in 2.7 collisions for every million cars that go through, Phillips said.

A tour was held Wednesday, beginning at 215 N. Mason St. and running the length of the roads where the improvements would take place, to explain the plans for the newly proposed projects. Kurt Kastein, a city council member and a member of the Transportation Board, attended in support of the project.

“We’ve gone through a prioritization process, and these are the projects that really need the money,” Kastein said. “Frankly, bike lanes (that were to be the main improvement on Prospect) aren’t a high priority. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Marketing Analyst for Transportation Demand Management Sylvia Cranmer, emphasized the ballot would not propose a tax increase. If voters approved the proposal, money would be taken from two projects that are currently on hold.

The Highway 14 truck by-pass project is at a “stalemate” because an agreement cannot be reached on how the money can most efficiently be spent to divert truck traffic from Fort Collins, Phillips said.

The $1.4 million, which was allotted to the project, is being used to look at alternate strategies such as electronic signs on I-25 to encourage trucks to stay on the interstate to get to Laramie, Wyo.

The planned improvements for Prospect Road did not include funding for widening to four lanes which Phillips says is needed, so the new ballot would propose to put this project on hold and transfer the money to the new projects.

Outbox:

For more information about Fort Collins traffic construction visit the Fort Collins Web site at www.fcgov.com.

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