Arvada communicates about 72nd Avenue delays

Obstacles cause nearly three-month change to intersection project schedule

Posted 7/30/19

Some had hoped construction on the Indiana Street and 72nd Avenue intersection had finished when 72nd opened back up near the beginning of 2019. Others looked to May, the construction’s scheduled …

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Arvada communicates about 72nd Avenue delays

Obstacles cause nearly three-month change to intersection project schedule

Posted

Some had hoped construction on the Indiana Street and 72nd Avenue intersection had finished when 72nd opened back up near the beginning of 2019. Others looked to May, the construction’s scheduled completion date, for the end of the project and return to normal traffic flow.

But with a subdivision, a water vault and a series of rainstorms shifting the schedule behind the scenes, the city soon found itself pushing back the end of the project — and fielding a good number of questions and comments from residents in the area.

“We did a lot of communication, but what we did not do was talk about the complexities of each of the things that was causing the delays,” said Arvada’s Communications Coordinator Cindy Javelet.

City officials began brainstorming the $7 million intersection project in 2013 to improve certain aspects of the intersection, including safety and capacity. Construction began in 2018.

“I’ve been here (in Arvada) a long time, and this is one of the most dangerous intersections,” said Cliff Deeds, the city’s assistant to the utilities director.

The project has been funded through the city’s capital improvement project fund and was originally scheduled to be completed in May, despite misinformation leading some to believe the project was over in the winter, when the city reopened 72nd Avenue.

But months of delays and the need to communicate with more than 20 contractors and stakeholders have shifted the end of the schedule to late August, the project manager Shane Hoerig said.

The first notable obstacle was the need to fit new utility lines, including a new water line, around lines that already exist beneath the intersection. The city had to adjust its plan for the new water line, which was intended to run near a water vault built more than 50 years ago. Because of a lack of records on the water vault’s size, Hoerig believed the vault was smaller than it actually is.

Ultimately, Hoerig shifted the path of the line to accommodate the vault and a “spaghetti bowl” of utility lines beneath the intersection, Deeds said.

“It’s no longer as designed, but it will stand the test of time,” he said. “We didn’t sacrifice one drop of quality on the water line, no pun intended.”

The series of snow and rainstorms that hit the area during construction further complicated the project, bringing more moisture than Hoerig and crew members expected.

As the crew worked on removing the bridge that crosses Croke Canal near the intersection, planning to eventually replace the bridge with a box culvert, the ground below “became very saturated, so it took an extra amount of work and time,” Deeds said.

Yet another roadblock emerged in relation to the incoming Ralston Ridge subdivision located adjacent to the intersection.

The new subdivision has been “something we wanted to work with,” Hoerig said, especially with the subdivision running its sewage system through the intersection.

The city has waited for the work to be finished before construction crews complete the road so crews will not have to dig up the new road and put the system in underneath, Hoerig said.

When the subdivision had to extend its own timeline because of complications, the city likewise extended its timeline.

To mitigate the effects of these challenges, Deeds said, the city has employed several strategies to try and accelerate the project, such as scheduling to minimize the amount of time spent waiting on contractors to be available.

From now through August, crews will construct medians, sidewalks and the portion of Indiana Street south of 72nd, according to the city’s webpage. Additionally, crews will install a guardrail and traffic signs and will pave the road, among other tasks, the page said.

“We certainly understand this has had an impact on folks,” Communications Manager Ben Irwin said. “The city’s been able to keep the project moving forward, even when we’ve hit an obstacle.”

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