City plans improvements

Pine Grove Road and U.S. Highway 40 intersection to change

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A state grant should help ease congestion at one of the city's most troublesome intersections, Pine Grove Road and U.S. Highway 40.

A grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation will allow the city to extend the left-hand turning lane on U.S. 40 and onto Pine Grove Road. Also proposed is changing the timing of the traffic light to accommodate the amount of traffic that comes through the intersection. The project is expected to start next summer.

"There are a lot of accidents, and there are accidents caused by people taking foolish chances. We are trying to sort things out so they don't need to take foolish chances," City Manager Paul Hughes said.

More than a year ago, the city applied for a grant from a CDOT program that helps improve dangerous intersections.

The capital improvements budget shows that $114,000 is earmarked for intersection improvements in 2005, and almost all of the money is coming from the state grant.

Frequent accidents occur at the intersection, Hughes said. One problem is during morning and evening rush hours when the turning lane does not accommodate all the vehicles turning left onto Pine Grove Road, leaving some vehicles stuck in the left-hand travel lane.

"You get hung up in the left- hand lane, wondering if you are going to be rear ended," Hughes said.

To fix that problem, the left-hand turn lane will be lengthened on the eastbound side of U.S. 40. To lengthen the lane, the left-hand turn lane on westbound U.S. 40 will have to be shortened.

Another change CDOT is planning, Hughes said, is to recalculate the timing of the light at the intersection. Accidents have occurred when drivers that are last in a long line of cars have pushed the yellow and red lights when turning left.

"That is where some very serious accidents take place," Hughes said.

Retiming the light also will increase the length of time for pedestrians to cross in all four directions, Hughes said.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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