The city of Durango plans to start construction on a new traffic signal at College Drive and East Second Avenue in the fall.
A traffic study showed that when a planned hotel is built on East Second Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets, traffic changes will cause the intersection to fail without a light. Even though the hotel has not been built, the light is needed because of the heavy pedestrian traffic crossing College Drive and the delays drivers face turning left from East Second Avenue onto College Drive, City Engineer Gregg Boysen said in an email.
“Motorists become frustrated at long delays and start making more dangerous decisions the longer they have to wait,” he said.
The signal will also be timed to keep the College Drive and East Second Avenue intersection clear when traffic backs up from Main Avenue. The project is estimated to cost about $546,000.
The city previously planned to make the 500 block of East Second Avenue a two-way street during construction, but it would have eliminated some on-street parking because the diagonal parking spaces would have become parallel parking spots and that concerned some residents.
After meeting with the public, the city adjusted its plans to preserve the diagonal on-street parking for as long as possible.
“We are delaying the inevitable, but we will try to squeeze as much out of the street for as long as we can as long as conditions are safe for the public,” Boysen wrote.
The traffic signal is designed to accommodate future two-way traffic because the use of the street is expected to increase and the traffic flow may have to be adjusted, Boysen said.
As part of the project, five parking spaces on the 100 block of College Drive will be eliminated because they are dangerous, and drivers who park in those spaces have to walk out into one of the busiest streets in Durango, Boysen said.
The project is expected to be complete before the winter holidays, he said.