Sep 182011
 
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

Looking out from his driveway Saturday afternoon, former CSU professor and Fort Collins resident Stan Cole watched a steady stream of traffic pass on West Drake Road.

“This amount of traffic is mild,” he said gesturing towards the street where scattered groups of cars passed, “At 5:00 p.m. it’s virtually a nightmare.”

Because of traffic and weather, the section of Drake that passes Cole’s house shows heavy damage. Cracks and pockmarks mark the pavement. At one point, the paving in the eastbound bike lane splits into two levels, forcing bicyclists to move toward the road to stay at street level.
The city is taking action.

This week maintenance crews will begin resurfacing the street, starting with eastbound lanes from the front of the CSU Veterinary Clinic to McClelland Drive. The work will take place in three phases. One section of the street will be worked on at a time, leaving one side of the street open to traffic throughout the process.

According to Brenda VanDyke, Traffic Engineer Technician for the City of Fort Collins Streets Department, all residents and businesses along Drake have already been notified by the city about the work that will be taking place.

“We went door to door [Thursday the 9th],” VanDyke said.

All businesses and residences within a one-fourth mile radius of the construction also received flyers by mail explaining the project.

Parties impacted include the Drake Professional Park, which will have an alternate access route via West Swallow Road, Ringneck Drive, and Redwing Road, and residents, such as Cole, with driveways on Drake.

The CSU Veterinary Clinic also stands to be impacted. The primary entrance to the clinic, which includes emergency services, is accessed through Drake Road.

To prevent possible problems, the city has been working with the clinic over the past two months to prepare for the planned construction. Clients with existing appointments have already been notified by the clinic, and future clients will be notified as they set up appointments.

Still, emergency receptionists were concerned about the time it could take for clients to reach the emergency room.

“If there are clients that haven’t been notified, they will need directions to get around. That could make a difference between life and death for an animal needing immediate resuscitation,” said Amber Wyatt, a CSU junior working at the clinic.

Her coworker, Kelsey Kayl, estimated that out of every 20 cases seen at the vet clinic, about three are from clients who haven’t called in or made an appointment.

To get to the vet clinic, drivers will need to follow Centre Avenue north, then turn onto Phemister Road, then Gillette Drive.

Detour signs will help guide drivers, but VanDyke encourages residents and others to look at detour maps, and updates about street repair on the city’s website, fcgov.com/streets, in case changes are made because of weather or construction problems.

In the meantime, most residents and business owners along Drake consider the project necessary, if annoying.

“It will be so nice to have it looking better,” said Leaellen Garner, who lives on Drake Road and works in the Drake Professional Park. “If we’re paying high taxes, we need our roads fixed. It will be worth it.”

Collegian reporter Elisabeth Willner can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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