Aug 212006
Authors: Sara Crocker The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Orange has come back into vogue in Fort Collins, but instead of adorning students’ bodies, it is accessorizing the streets with signs warning about roadwork and detours.

The city has seen more construction than usual, according to Gary Diede, acting city planner.

There are 27 ongoing projects fully or partially closing roads around the city for everything from repaving, reconstruction and widening to sewer and utility work.

“It was a lot of funding and timing,” Diede said of the number of construction projects taking place all at once around the city.

But despite the construction, university spokeswoman Dell Rae Moellenberg said that students, especially the freshmen who moved in over the weekend, were not inconvenienced.

“We didn’t notice any impact with the road construction,” she said.

Jim Dolak, executive director of Housing and Dining, said that despite the closure of the I-25 exit on Prospect Road, this year’s move-in on campus was one of the smoothest he could recall in years.

“When we talked to students and parents coming in, we’ve not heard any problems at all,” he said.

But others have felt the impact of the construction around the city, especially with the influx of students returning.

“With students starting to come back (to school, Shields Street) was ridiculous,” said Cheylan Beaver, a freshman interior design major who lives near Plum Street. “No longer does it take, like, 10 minutes to get anywhere; now it takes 30.”

The largest projects, on Timberline, Prospect and Taft Hill roads and Lemay Avenue, have some closures and detours, which add about two miles to each trip, according to Diede. However, he could not estimate how much time the detours added to people’s trips because of all the different routes people could be taking.

Still, despite the inconvenience the construction could cause, Diede said the city decided that it would be better to disrupt traffic for a few months instead of staggering the projects over the next few years.

“We decided it was worth the pain for the gain,” Diede said.

And with more than $18 million being spent on these projects through tax dollars, city and county funds and developers, he said the public has been patient with the revamping.

In the end some are finding the aggravation of construction to be worth it once the projects are finished.

A cratered Laurel Street was repaved over the summer and reopened earlier this month. While some on-street parking and left turn lanes have been eliminated, bike lanes have been added, pleasing many engineless commuters.

Scott Becker, a senior business real estate major, said that while the city construction going on now hasn’t impacted him, it was nice to come back to a freshly paved Laurel and a safe place to ride.

“Once I’m at school I just use my bike,” he said. “(The new lanes are) nice. It provides the opportunity for bike culture to expand.”

News Editor Sara Crocker can be reached at

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