Aug 232009
 
Authors: Lauren Leete

As road-resurfacing work continues to hinder motorists throughout Fort Collins, city officials said construction must continue during high-traffic daytime periods per a city noise ordinance.

The ordinance, first established in 1972, is intended to regulate noise levels at certain times of day, Chief Deputy City Clerk Rita Harris said, and construction crews are no exception, with city law stipulating that construction equipment must be equipped with a functioning muffler and only operate between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

And while the restrictions may cut down on nighttime noise, Project Manager of the Pavement Management division for City of Fort Collins Engineering Erika Keeton said the restrictions also obstruct local traffic flow.

“(We) have to take into consideration which lane gets dropped. (We) try to keep it two directions of travel . that may mean only one lane each way,” Keeton said.

Funded entirely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the current major resurfacing project, on Shields Street from Prospect Road to the Mulberry Street intersection, began in July.

South Shields Dental receptionist Kristi Rodriguez said daytime construction did interfere with customers’ ability to reach the dental office.

“The University (Avenue) turn would have been blocked every now and then,” Rodriguez said. “(Some) patients asked construction workers for another way to get around, but they weren’t that helpful. Fortunately, all our appointments made it.”

Contractors sent out a letter to the businesses and residents, notifying them of the pavement replacement, lane closures, detour routes and roadblocks, but both Rodriguez and Keeton said the letter did not specify which intersecting streets would be closed.

“We received the letter about the construction for Aug. 16 through 20th from Prospect to Mulberry. Unfortunately, we didn’t know exactly where the construction was during that time period,” Rodriguez said.

Keeton also said the restricted hours and traffic flow problems limit construction plans and interfere with a crews’ ability to complete their project on time.

“It affects production. (We) have a lot of equipment (we) need to mobilize. (We need) to setup traffic control, and (it) makes the project go longer,” Keeton said.

To solve some of the daytime incontinence, Rodriguez said she would not mind construction happening after business hours.

However, Keeton said nighttime construction raises concern about the “safety of the people in the work zone being able to be seen at night (and) the quality of the project” in addition to violating the noise ordinance.

The Prospect to Mulberry segment of the project is in its final stages, but resurfacing will continue down Shields to Loveland’s Taft Hill Road, finally moving to Highway 287 in Berthoud. The full project is due to end in October.

Staff writer Lauren Leete can be reached at news@collegian.com

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