Turning left from U.S. Highway 160 onto Bayfield Parkway should become a little less nerve-wracking.
Because of increased traffic on the highway during the bridge replacement project on the parkway, the Colorado Department of Transportation is adding a lefthand turn lane onto Bayfield Parkway for westbound traffic.
On Monday, June 19, crews delayed traffic for up to 10 minutes as they removed rumble strips on the old lanes.
On Wednesday, traffic will again be reduced to one lane for new striping to be painted on the highway, said Lisa Schwantes, a CDOT spokesperson. The work was set to take place on June 26 but was delayed two days.
The agency hopes the striping work can be completed in one day, after 8:30 a.m. and before 4:30 p.m. to avoid the rush-hour traffic. Drivers heading to Durango should plan for a 10 to 15-minute delay, Schwantes said. Florida Road off County Road 501 is one way to avoid the construction, or heading to Ignacio on the Buck Highway.
"We want to get it done before the Fourth of July holiday," Schwantes said of the striping.
The town's project contract with SEMA Construction was approved in early February for up to $4.57 million, with $2.53 million of that coming from CDOT off-system bridge grants and a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for a pedestrian trail extension. Additional costs for engineering and possibly more environmental or sensitive species mitigation will put the total cost above $5 million.
The project has been in the works since 2011 when the town received $6.8 million from the Colorado Department of Transportation to take over Bayfield Parkway (previously U.S. Highway 160B) from end to end. Planning ramped up in 2014 but was slowed by wetland and endangered species issues. The bridges date from the early 1930s and have been listed as functionally obsolete.
The town is hoping to complete the bridge replacement project sometime this fall, if everything goes as planned.