By Nancy Shanks
Special to The SUN
Following a winter suspension, work is back underway to improve the intersection of U.S. 160 at Hurt Drive (mile post 131.95) and Badger Road, located in the Aspen Springs subdivision area west of Pagosa Springs.
The intersection improvements include minor highway widening to accommodate: left-turn lanes off U.S. 160 onto both Hurt Drive (to the south) and Badger Road (north); right-turn deceleration lanes from U.S. 160 to both drives; and right-turn acceleration lanes from both drives onto U.S. 160. The work also includes resurfacing on U.S. 160 between mile posts 131 and 134.5; highway shoulder improvements; slope flattening to improve sight distance for motorists and cyclists; and a section of new guardrail.
The project, contracted to Skanska U.S.A. for $6 million, improves safety at this busy intersection and improves the condition of the highway surface, extending its life by up to 20 years.
Last season, crews extended a concrete box culvert under the highway in preparation for the highway widening and constructed a retaining wall on the north side and conducted earthwork for the traffic detour on the south side of the highway (eastbound side). When complete (likely by the end of April), the detour will facilitate two-way traffic through the work zone for the majority of the time, reducing the impacts to the traveling public.
Currently, motorists will encounter single-lane, alternating traffic and some travel delays on both U.S. 160 and the drives Monday through Friday during daylight hours. By the end of April, traffic should be shifted so that eastbound will use the detour roadway and westbound will use the existing eastbound lane. When the detour is in use, however, motorists will encounter periodic stops for equipment crossing, etc. The project completion date is set for late September 2014.