The Colorado Department of Transportation, without fanfare, on Thursday opened the U.S. Highway 160 interchange in Grandview.
We had a ceremony when we started the project, CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said. So today, we just opened the ramps.
The interchange, which includes the so-called Bridge to Nowhere, will allow these maneuvers:
Motorists driving east or west on Highway 160 can use the interchange to return the way they came.
Drivers heading east or west can get off at the interchange and use the roundabout to reach the frontage road on the south side of the highway.
A median being built at the intersection of Highway 160 and County Road 232 east of the interchange will eliminate left turns into or out of County Road 232. The work is expected to be completed Wednesday.
Also part of the long-range project is the construction of Wilson Gulch Road north of the roundabout to provide new access to the Three Springs neighborhood and Mercy Regional Medical Center.
Wilson Gulch Road is a project of the city of Durango and La Plata County.
The long-planned new connection of Highway 160 and U.S. Highway 550 south doesnt have an alignment yet. The CDOT preferred route, which would intersect Highway 160 at the interchange, is under environmental review.
A new Highway 550 alignment would eliminate the current connection at Farmington Hill.
The interchange was built at a cost of $47 million.
The construction included a fourth lane two-thirds of a mile long on Highway 160, four bridges, six retaining walls, lighting, a new signal light at Farmington Hill and wetlands mitigation.
The design and construction of the main overpass bridge cost $6 million.
Planning for the interchange began in the 1990s as one of 28 high-priority projects statewide. Included was the widening of Highway 160 from Durango to Bayfield.
In 2009, the corridor registered 27,875 vehicle trips a day at peak times.
The number is expected to rise to 44,478 trips a day by 2030 at the current growth rate.
If Grandview reaches its potential development, the number of daily trips could reach 85,910 by 2030.