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Durango moves to design phase for Camino del Rio underpass

New route aims to improve safety and better connect downtown and Animas River Trail
Cosha Villa and her brother Danny Chambers use the pedestrian crosswalk at 12th Street and Camino del Rio in 2012. The city of Durango is in the design process for a pedestrian and bicycle underpass at the intersection. (Durango Herald file)

The city of Durango has begun the design process for a pedestrian and bicycle underpass at Camino del Rio and 12th Street.

Identified in the 2016 Multimodal Transportation Plan, the underpass aims to address a lack of safe pedestrian and bicycle connection to the downtown area from the Animas River Trail.

“The need for a safe crossing has been talked about by community members for over a decade, and a lot of residents are excited to see this project moving forward to the design phase,” said Devin King, multimodal administrator.

The city of Durango has begun the design process for a project that would create an underpass at Camino del Rio and 12th Street to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. (Courtesy city of Durango)

A feasibility study in 2020 determined that 12th Street would be the best place for the city to connect a section of the Animas River Trail on the west side of Camino del Rio to the downtown area using an underpass.

The city has budgeted $338,851 for design costs. The money is coming a 2015 sales and use tax fund. Conceptual estimates for the improvement is $3.4 million, according to a city feasibility study.

“This project will both encourage and improve residents’ and visitors’ access to downtown and the Animas River Trail, two of the city’s best gems,” King said.

The design phase of the project is anticipated to be complete by fall 2022. The process will include several opportunities for community input, including a brainstorming workshop for community stakeholders and advisory boards.

The pedestrian light at Camino del Rio and 12th Street. (Durango Herald file)

Currently, there is a HAWK signal at the crosswalk for Camino del Rio at 12th Street, used to alert drivers of crossing pedestrians and cyclists. Colorado Department of Transportation plans to update the HAWK pedestrian light as part of its safety upgrades to Camino del Rio.

The new HAWK signal would have to be removed during the construction of the underpass.

CDOT is aware of the city’s plans for the underpass. Because CDOT’s upgrades are intended to improve safety at the Camino del Rio and 12th Street intersection, it is not changing plans even though some work will be removed months after completion.

njohnson@durangoherald.com

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