The construction work causing a bottleneck in traffic flow on Camino del Rio through the middle of downtown Durango will wind down for winter only to resume in the spring.
Colorado Department of Transportation originally estimated construction would be done in December, but is now looking to complete the medians sometime in spring.
“We’re going to have a winter shutdown starting mid-December,” said CDOT spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes. “... We will get going as quickly as we can in the spring. That could be as early as March, or perhaps April.”
When construction crews can begin working again is dependent on the weather.
Recent setbacks caused by weather and a two-week break because of a COVID-19 outbreak among construction crews haven’t helped the timeliness of the median project. However, the main setback has to do with plans to bore utility lines underneath the street being unsuccessful.
“The most significant factor pushing us into the spring is that we had originally planned to bore under the roadway for our utilities, and crews encountered difficult subsurface conditions,” Schwantes said.
Boring for utility lines was originally supposed to occur at a shallow depth, but crews were forced to go deep to avoid disturbing other utility lines.
“We attempted to bore deeper, which did get us out of the existing utilities and the fill material and into more natural soil,” said David Peyton, CDOT traffic and safety engineer. “That natural soil had a significant amount of cobbles, rocks and boulders and the material was destroying bore heads.”
After meeting with the contractor, CDOT decided the safest route would be to trench utilities across the road.
Unrelated to factors that have pushed out the completion date of the project, CDOT is working on a change order to the project that will include a pedestrian crossing on north Main Avenue between 29th and 30th streets.
At Camino del Rio and Ninth Street, CDOT hopes to replace a traffic signal, move overhead utilities underground and replace existing curb ramps with new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps before the winter break. Work left to do in spring will include lengthening the right-turn lane on west Ninth Street, and pavement resurfacing.
“We are in the design phase with that,” Schwantes said. “It’s a possibility that would be added to this project in the spring.”
Crews expect to replace a span wire signal with a new signal pole and mast arm at the intersection of Camino del Rio and 12th Street before winter. But they will have to make other improvements to the intersection next year.
The concrete medians from Eighth to 14th streets are planned to be completed by winter.
“We’re going to be working fast and furious until the weather does not permit us to do that any longer,” Schwantes said.
CDOT said its goal is to have 70% of the work done by the end of the year.