Drivers need to slow down and pay attention tonight as the signal at the U.S. Highway 160/550 intersection will be out from 7 p.m. until early-morning hours.
“This is a safety concern,” said Nancy Shanks, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman. “People will get through in the wee hours, but there will be flaggers instead of a signal.”
Lane closures are expected to begin at 6:30 p.m. today, with the signal turned off at 7 p.m. The signal is expected to be turned back on before the morning commute.
“I know people are finding this frustrating,” she said. “When we are paving a highway, you’re likely to have a 10-minute delay. Because this is in a city center, which doesn’t happen often, it seems more unacceptable to people.”
She asked drivers to remember this is a construction project, so delays are likely, and people should plan accordingly.
“People are watching the signal cycle through two or three times, which can happen,” she said. “A full signal cycle is 2½ minutes, so, once again, it’s about a 10-minute wait.”
Shanks met with the crew Tuesday and asked what they were seeing.
“There are some real speeders coming up from the south, where the speed limit is 50 mph,” she said. “It’s scary out there when there’s nothing between you and the speeder but a cone.”
If it’s slowed down now, it will be even worse during the summer on the project, which is on schedule, but it is not due to be completed until mid-August, she said.
“That intersection gets up to 40,000 vehicles a day in the summer,” Shanks said. “When you close one lane, you really notice it.”
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, she said, recommending drivers also stay off cellphones while approaching the intersection.
“Please expect delays slow down and drive with added awareness,” she said. “Remember there are workers out there. And when this is done, the signal cycle will be shorter because the intersection will be more efficient, so that’s something to look forward to.”
To receive email and wireless text alerts about the project and expected delays, visit www.coloradodot.info and click the green cellphone icon in the upper right corner.
An earlier version of this story misstated the number of vehicles that pass through the intersection on a daily basis.