If you think you’ve noticed an uptick in road construction on north Main Avenue, you’d be right.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is in the middle of a $600,000 project to bring 10 intersections throughout Durango up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
The work will install 19 ADA-compliant ramps to existing ramps and areas that do not have any ramps, said CDOT spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes. The project will also improve curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
“Back in the day, when the sidewalks came to an intersection, you’d have to step off the curb,” Schwantes said. “Now, we’re making those ADA-compliant so anyone in a wheelchair or walker can use the ramp to walk right up to the sidewalk.”
Schwantes said construction is expected to wrap up by July.
The project in Durango is part of an $85 million statewide initiative to help Colorado communities comply with ADA regulations and provide enhanced accessibility for people with disabilities. Weather permitting, the state hopes to have the improvement projects done by 2021.
Martha Mason, executive director for the Southwest Center for Independence, said it’s “paramount to people with disabilities to be able to get around the community.”
“And they can’t do it without accessible sidewalks, so we’re just elated,” she said.
While improvements to the intersection are important, the state of the sidewalks themselves on north Main Avenue are “terrible” and pose a risk to people walking there, Mason said.
However, she said she is pleased the state is investing so much money on bringing communities up to ADA standards.
“Good access is good for business and good for all of us,” she said. “Everyone appreciates a safe place to cross the street.”
In conjunction with the ADA project, Schwantes said CDOT crews last fall began improvements on the traffic lights on north Main Avenue. Specifically, projects at 32nd Street, 22nd Street and the intersection of 17th Street and West Park Avenue.
That project, she said, is expected to wrap up by Memorial Day.