Substantial completion of the Westside Avenue Action Plan project will be marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony from 10-11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15 at the Garden of the Gods RV Resort, 3704 W. Colorado Ave.

According to Project Manager Chris Jennings of Jacobs Engineering, substantial completion means that the hard infrastructure of the project — a 1½ -mile stretch of Colorado and Manitou avenues between North 31st Street and the Highway 24 interchange — has been finished.

The project will provide critical access, mobility, aesthetic and safety improvements along the corridor, setting the stage for enhancements and economic development.

The project, originally budgeted at $30.9 million, was funded through voter-approved sales tax revenue from Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. Additional funds came from the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the El Paso County Road and Bridge Fund and the Manitou Springs Urban Renewal Authority.

The run-down corridor, dubbed No Man’s Land, had suffered from a lack of maintenance, although it’s considered a commercial gateway from Old Colorado City to Manitou Springs and Ute Pass.

But local leaders saw its potential and devised a plan to:

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• Reconfigure the four-lane roadway into one traffic lane in each direction with a center turn lane, plus bike lanes on each side
• Construct a new bridge over Fountain Creek at Columbia Road, now known as Adams Crossing
• Relocate 1,000 feet of Fountain Creek to the north and improve flood protection
• Upgrade all water and sanitary sewer infrastructure
• Underground electric lines and storm sewers
• Install curbs, gutters and sidewalks on both sides of the avenue
• Complete the Midland trail and build a pedestrian bridge to the trail
• Construct a plaza at Ridge Road and Colorado Avenue to serve as a community gathering place
• Add amenities including historically appropriate street lighting and landscaping.

Unforeseen obstacles and weather delays pushed back the completion timeline of the project, which broke ground in December 2016, by nearly a year and contributed to cost overruns of nearly $10 million.

Jennings said remaining work on the project primarily will be attending to touch-up and punch list items, such as grading for landscaping that will be installed in the spring.

Members of the project team, contractor, sponsors, elected leaders and community representatives will be present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.

Speakers will give an overview of the project and brief history of the Adams Crossing area, followed by a ceremonial unveiling of the Adams Crossing bridge plaque and ribbon cutting.

Editor’s note: For more information about the Westside Avenue project, its impact on businesses and projections for the future of the corridor, see the Nov. 15 edition of the Business Journal.

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