Long-awaited plans to reconstruct a major intersection in northern Colorado Springs where home construction is booming will move ahead after budget shortfalls held up the project for more than a year.
State transportation officials announced Thursday that $25.5 million in federal stimulus money will help pay for the estimated $43.6 million “shovel ready” Powers Boulevard and Research Parkway reconstruction project, which will make left turns easier for drivers and crossing the road safer for pedestrians while removing a stoplight on Powers that has snarled traffic.
The heavily trafficked crossing will become a “diverging diamond interchange” similar to the one at Fillmore Street and Interstate 25, with vehicles on Research Parkway crossing to the opposite side at a traffic light so left-turning drivers don’t have to cross oncoming traffic to reach Powers. Powers Boulevard would run above Research with no stoplight.
Sidewalks and bike lanes on Research will also be added to improve access to local schools and access via other modes of transportation.
“Improving this area of Powers and Research will greatly enhance safety and mobility there and provide much needed economic stimulus during this challenging time,” Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Executive Director Andrew Gunning said in a written statement Thursday.
El Paso County Commissioner Holly Williams said the current intersection has “been a dangerous situation for many years.” The project is in her district, which encompasses northern El Paso County, including the north and northeast areas of Colorado Springs.
“This will be a great relief to many parents at Liberty High School, as well as many workers at USAA at the end of Research Parkway,” she said.
Construction on the area’s “highest priority project” was originally planned to begin in the summer of 2020, but several budget shortfalls — compounded by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — delayed its start, a news release states. With funding now identified, the project is expected to break ground this summer, as its design and the environmental assessment are complete.
Federal stimulus funding will pay for more than half of the project, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Peulen said. The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments will add their share of $8.5 million in federal stimulus funds to the reconstruction, along with $17 million in stimulus funds from the state Department of Transportation.
The remaining funds will come from the transportation department's budget, Peulen said.
The work zone will be between Mile Markers 149 and 151 on Powers, and on Research between Scarborough and Cross Creek drives.
For more information on the project, visit codot.gov/projects/co-21-research-parkway-interchange-study.