road work

Gavin Haskin and John Fry of the Town of Telluride’s Public Works Department give the crosswalk on Colorado Avenue and Oak Street a fresh coat of paint over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Tobin Behling)

Along the same lines as “making hay while the sun shines,” road construction crews in the area have started working as if winter is coming sooner than later. Two major projects are underway that will cause traffic flow delays, but will ultimately result in needed repairs or traffic flow improvements.

Commuters and visitors using the Spur into Telluride were greeted Monday morning by rough pavement in areas that will be rehabilitated and a row of orange markers along the centerline. The Town of Telluride’s  $1.6 million Spur overlay project has begun, and a bit earlier than originally planned.

According to Karen Guglielmone, the town’s environmental and engineering division manager, the projected timeframe is still expected to take about eight days, but the good weather pushed up its start date from June 25 to Monday.

“The good weather is indeed a factor in starting now,” Gulgielmone said, “but also the contractor is trying to complete a number of different projects in the region to be efficient with their equipment and personnel mobilization.”

The work includes applying 4-inch overlay on the well-traveled road into town and consists of a 1.5-inch leveling layer of asphalt that will, in turn, be covered with a 2.5-inch overlay.

“Each course is a different asphalt mix to address different issues,” she said earlier this year. “Both mixes will have a fiber additive to increase the lifespan of the work by up to two years.”

What’s different about this project is that crews will be working nights from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Guglielmone said the crews have their equipment out and ready to roll by 6:30 p.m.

Because the work is taking place at night, drivers are urged to use caution when traveling on the Spur.

“We ask that people be patient and careful to avoid accidents while the crews work at night,” she said. “Nighttime work can be perilous.”

At night, westbound drivers will be routed through Butcher Creek through Thursday (tomorrow). Gulgielmone said that while it is hoped the roundabout can be reopened by then, the timing is dependent on “a number of factors, such as nighttime temperatures.”

While nighttime Spur work is occurring, there will be single lane traffic with manned traffic control points.

Guglielmone issued an apology to those impacted by the noise and lights, but hoped that the increased efficiency would outweigh the temporary inconvenience.

“There was virtually no traffic last night (Monday night) after midnight,” she said.

By Tuesday morning, a significant length of the eastbound land had been resurfaced.

The work, officials have said, is crucial and the time is now.

Public Works Director Paul Ruud told Town Council earlier this year that the Spur was especially in need of repair.

“We wouldn’t make it another year,” he said. “We’re not late, but we wouldn’t make it another year.”

Also underway is work on the blocks of West Colorado Avenue in front of Clark’s Market and east to the crosswalk at Davis Street. Motorists will recall the string of pothole damage the road endured this winter. Those issues will be addressed with a new surfacing. In addition, town crews are giving centerlines and crosswalks a fresh coat of paint. Minor detours can be expected with that work.

Also of note to travelers along Highway 145, Nancy Shanks, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said that crews working on the Deep Creek passing lane project are focusing their attention this week excavating the northbound side (hillside). They’ll be widening the shoulder and setting barriers that will enable two-way traffic for a while. Once the barrier is set, she explained, there will be two 10-foot-wide lanes, which will result in a 10-foot width vehicle restriction, but one lane will be open in each direction. Weather permitting, that aspect of the project should be completed by the end of this week. Some traffic delays may occur while crews move equipment, personnel or for crew truck traffic. Also, Shanks said, eight of the 11 culverts have been removed and replaced. Work on the final three will result, again, in single-lane alternating travel. When that work begins, notifications will be issued.

And finally, motorists and others in Mountain Village have likely noticed construction activity, this time near Market Plaza and the intersection of San Joaquin Road and Mountain Village Boulevard. According to a news release, heavy snow and wet conditions in the spring, along with the availability of contractors, pushed back building demolition and subsequent landscaping that was scheduled to have taken place earlier in May. Officials said there would be no pedestrian or vehicular impacts.