June 22, 2005
No doubt about it, big road construction projects can be hell on wheels for some commuters. The Colorado Springs Metro Interstate Expansion, or COSMIX, is the largest such project in this city’s history. Nearly every driver in Colorado Springs will hit the brakes for a COSMIX construction zone before the project is done in late 2007. The company building COSMIX, Rockrimmon Constructors, said it’s working on several fronts to minimize hassle. One of the most important strategies, spokesman Bill Badger said, is that workers will always keep at least two lanes of traffic open in each direction during peak drive times. The company will build traffic lanes next to the interstate and shift traffic to the new pavement while it rebuilds the old lanes. Workers also will try to limit how often they shift the lane alignments, Badger said. “The more that you shift people back and forth, the more it slows people down and people get confused,” he said. Some COSMIX work, such as dirt moving, has begun, but the project will start in earnest next week. Among other efforts to limit commuting headaches: - Electronic signs will alert drivers to congestion ahead, and other signs will advise moving fender benders from traffic. Badger said it’s OK to move cars involved in a wreck to the side of the road as long as no one is hurt, and drugs or alcohol aren’t involved. - Engineers will keep detour routes as short as possible, and the lanes on temporary roads will be at least 11 feet wide, which Badger said prevents slowdowns. - Tow trucks will patrol the construction zone 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays. The truck drivers will move accidents out of the way, offer free cell phone service and give up to a gallon of free gas to someone whose car runs dry. The Interstate 25 construction project involves adding several walls next to the highway designed to block traffic and construction noise for people who live nearby. The first such wall will be 16 feet high and 2,820 feet long, running on the west side of I-25 from Ellston Street to south of Garden of the Gods Road. The wall, which will shield the Holland Park neighborhood from noise, will be completed by fall. How effectively a wall blocks sound from your house depends on where you live. A study on the environmental effects of I-25 construction found that the wall next to Holland Park will cut noise by about 8 percent for people who live right next to it. The cost to build it is an estimated $1.35 million. WHAT’S GOING ON? - Check The Gazette and www.gazette.com for frequent stories about progress of the COSMIX project and its effects on commuters. - Detailed information is online at www.cosmixproject.com. - Commuters may call 1-877-COSMIX1 for recorded information about the project and to leave a message with questions or comments.