Austin Bluffs being expanded along front of campus

Sept. 2, 2013

Eleanor Skelton
[email protected]

A key part of widening the Austin Bluffs corridor, similar to the ongoing Woodmen Road corridor expansion, is directly situated in front of the UCCS main campus.

Construction began over the summer on June 17 and is expected to end in December 2014.

According to the City of Colorado Springs, it is the third construction phase and will widen three parts of the road from four to six lanes, including Nevada Avenue to Union Boulevard, Union Boulevard to Meadowland Boulevard and Barnes Road to Old Farm Drive.

Students and faculty navigated the continuously changing lanes and orange cones throughout the summer semester, and ongoing construction has continued into the fall semester.

For UCCS students with night classes in the upcoming weeks, the Austin Bluffs corridor website announces that “beginning Tuesday, September 3 at 8:00 p.m. through Friday, September 6 at 6:00 a.m., westbound Austin Bluffs Parkway will be reduced from two lanes to one lane between Stanton Drive and Regent Circle to accommodate construction of a new waterline.”

Also on Sept. 3, starting at 6:30 a.m. and ending on Sept. 13 at 5 p.m., Austin Bluffs at American Drive will be reduced to two lanes instead of three.

Lawrence Construction Company from Littleton, Colo., is working on the Austin Bluffs Corridor Project and is the same “contractor who built the Union/Austin Bluffs interchange in 2008,” according to Mike Chaves from Colorado Springs City Engineering.

Jim Spice, executive director of Parking and Transportation Services at UCCS, said “as far as the [shuttle] buses go, I don’t think it’s being slowed down any. The construction isn’t significant enough where it’s affecting the shuttle bus route.”

“I think most students, staff and faculty know that there’s a lot of construction going around and they are planning extra time in their schedule.”

When asked about the city bus stop on campus being rerouted, he explained when the intersection roundabout at Meadow Lane was closed a few weeks ago. “There was a bump in the asphalt that ended up being too high. Our buses were short enough where it didn’t affect them, but the city buses were bottoming out, so that’s why they had to reroute the buses.”

Spice indicated that the reroute was “a temporary thing. I think it’s going to be Tuesday of next week that they’re going to try and grind down that asphalt and fix it.”

Some students like Ryan Boworth, a Ph. D. Engineering student, had thought that the construction “was supposed to be finished over summer.”

Katie Garvert, a resident in the Cragmor neighborhood, said the Austin Bluffs corridor expansion “doesn’t bother me at all. We avoid it … We can access Nevada, or you can access Union. For us, we totally avoid Austin Bluffs. We always have. We never have used that as a main intersection.”