NoMansLandCity, county and state officials broke ground Monday on a project to transform “No Man’s Land” — a 1.5-mile section of Colorado and Manitou avenues between 31st Street and the U.S. 24 interchange — into a safe and attractive thoroughfare for both motorists and pedestrians.

Officials from Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs, El Paso County and the Colorado Department of Transportation celebrated the launch of the two-year project during an event Dec. 12 at the Garden of the Gods RV Resort, which abuts “No Man’s Land” and Midland Trail to the north.

Project stakeholders laid out details of the Westside Avenue Action Plan, which includes reconstruction of the roadway to include three lanes (including a dedicated turning lane), the creation of eastbound and westbound bike lanes, the addition of sidewalks and gutters on each side, and a new Midland Trail connection and pedestrian bridge, as well as aesthetic improvements such as lighting and landscaping.

“This was done with public input,” said Jim Reid, executive director of public services for El Paso County. “As a result of that, the configuration is intended to create a slow and social feel in the area.”

As part of the project, a new bridge for Colorado Avenue over Fountain Creek will be named Adams Crossing in honor of Charles Adams, who commanded the Colorado Militia in the year following the American Civil War and was a prominent local resident until his death in 1895.

“We’re happy to see the name return,” said Mel McFarland, a local historian and Westside resident.

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Construction is expected to begin immediately and be completed in 24 months.