Heavy Construction Begins for Highway 133 Project

May 27, 2014

Heavy duty construction begins on Highway 133 in Carbondale today, Tuesday May 29th. The plan is to widen the road in certain spots and put a roundabout in at the intersection with Main Street. Everything is supposed to wrap up before next year, and a Carbondale business group hopes it won’t spell trouble for local establishments.

Starting today, Tuesday May 29th, crews will begin putting down temporary detour asphalt between the intersection with Main Street and Delores Way, near Highway 82. Workers will also put up a concrete center barrier. Tracy Trulove is the regional spokesman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, or CDOT.

“There also will be a temporary signal that’s put in at Colorado Avenue.”

That’s just north of where Highway 133 meets Main Street. The signal is necessary because workers will have to reroute traffic while putting in a roundabout at that intersection.  The whole project must be finished by mid-November. The work doesn't stretch over to Highway 133 and Highway 82 intersection, but CDOT knows it could affect cars and trucks there. Tracy Trulove says the biggest impact on traffic will be in the beginning to mid-summer.

“June and July are gonna be when you see the larger chunks of construction happening, and   impacts to access, although they’re still lots of ways to get around things.”

First, there's prep work, Phase 1… until mid-June. Then, Phase 2. Workers will widen one side of the highway, the West side, while drivers only use the East side of the road. After late July, everything flips. Traffic will be on the West side of Highway 133, while crews widen the east side. That's Phase 3… and throughout all of this, they'll be putting the roundabout in place at the intersection near 7-11 and City Market.  That will be finished by mid-September. Andrea Stewart oversees the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, which recently hosted an event for locals to ask CDOT questions.

“People are just very curious about what exactly will be happening, what access points will be open when.”

There’s been debate about a sculpture planned to be at the center of the new roundabout, by the artist James Surls. Some say it’s not a good fit for Carbondale. As for the business side of things, Stewart says it’s up to shops along the construction route to decide whether to continue operating with the detours in place. But, she says:

“We’re hoping that all businesses will stay and remain open during construction.”

The highway is a major connector with communities south of Carbondale,  and over McClure pass. CDOT's Tracy Trulove says people trying to get there should know the road will not be closed… but it’ll take longer because of detours.

There’ll always be a way. That’s the nice thing about this project, there’s always going to be a way to get in that direction heading to Redstone, if you will.”

And there’s one aspect to the project that might be particularly pleasing to parents.

“There is, towards the end of the project, a traffic signal being put in near the Main entrance to River Valley Ranch, which is right across the road from the Middle School in Carbondale. If you’ve got kids that have been having to cross the highway to get to school, this is gotta feel better that there’s gonna be an actual traffic signal put in there.”

This summer's project is running about a month shorter than planned, because all of the original construction bids were too expensive. CDOT had to go through the bidding process twice to find a company that could do the job, a situation happening more and more often statewide.

Elise Thatcher, APR News.