Jim Hastings backed his SUV into his Cheyenne Boulevard home Monday afternoon, bracing for city crews to begin construction on the controversial five-way intersection less than a block away.
Those crews will close the intersection at South Tejon on Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning, replacing traffic signals with a four-way stop, a Colorado Springs spokesperson said in a release. That work will ultimately end with the installation of a roundabout at the intersection of Cheyenne Boulevard, South Cascade and East Ramona avenues and South Tejon Street.
“It’ll make it rough to get out of here in the morning,” Hastings said.
Traffic through the Ivywild neighborhood will likely slow, he added, questioning how and where pedestrians will be able to cross the streets.
Most Ivywild residents seem to be against the roundabout, Hastings said.
The project has been in the works for nearly a decade. The City Council first approved funding for the work in 2011 and the approval was joined with a $1.58 million grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to pay for the project.
However, the project required nearby businesses to part with some of their land and the U-Haul at 1644 Tejon St., held out until the summer of 2017, when it relinquished about a third of an acre to the city for $55,000.
The roundabout is meant to make the intersection safer and streamline traffic, the city’s release said.
Certainly some find the existing intersection difficult to navigate, said Sean Swedhin, a lot technician at the U-Haul there.
Just a few weeks ago Swedhin said he was hit while passing through the intersection, but fortunately he was unhurt.
“These people are already crazy,” Swedhin said. “Everybody’s honking at each other and they don’t have any reason to be.”
Those problems will likely only worsen with the roundabout, Swedhin said. He anticipated that U-Haul’s business won’t suffer.
“It’s not a necessity, just something the politicians want,” he said. “That could have been money spent toward potholes, bridges, all the other things they need to be taking care of.”
But not every politician in town supports the change. Councilman Don Knight opposed buying U-Haul’s land and still refers to the project — which won’t be exactly circular — as “that oval-about.”
Once finished, the roundabout will not only reduce maintenance costs the existing signals carried, but it will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to pass through the entire intersection, the release said. It will also be built to match Ivywild’s historic character.
“It’s going to move traffic along, they’re right there,” Hastings said. “And it’s probably going to look pretty.”
The four-way stop will open to traffic at 7 a.m. Wednesday, the release said. Cascade Avenue, north of the intersection, will be closed to through traffic during the construction and the four-way stop will be in place until the roundabout is finished in early 2020.
Additional information about the project can be found online at coloradosprings.gov/snevadaimprovements.