27 August 2019
The Spine Road project, which was announced after the City of Colorado Springs installed gate in the Eagle Rock neighborhood to prevent through traffic is facing a delayed start due to negotiations between the university and the city over their share of the project. The road is now expected to reach completion and open on Sept. 13.
The road was originally projected to be finished by the start of August but disagreements over how much of the project UCCS and Colorado Springs would finance has changed the original completion date. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the project will be about 2 million dollars, and will be split between the city and the university.
Construction of Spine Road has closed down Lot 540, called “the dirt lot” or “the free lot” by members of the campus community and is located behind Alpine Garage. The lot is commonly used by students who forgo purchasing parking passes.
According to Carolyn Fox, executive director of Planning, Design and Construction, reopening Lot 540 will take priority, and will hopefully open before school starts. To make this happen, Fox said that construction on the road closest to where the lot will need to wrap up so it can reopen.
Despite a late start to the project, Fox said that the actual construction of the road has been proceeding on schedule since it started.
In addition to the road’s construction, Fox said that a new shuttle stop will be created and made usable once the road has been completed. The Eagle Rock stop will be located between the Eagle Rock modular building and the Ent Center, and will be intended to transport students that utilize the shuttle to and from the main and west areas of campus.
Fox said that the stop will be intended to accommodate any students that use west campus facilities and will also open Sept. 13.
According to Communique, the city is funding the project through Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA). The PPRTA is a collaborative effort between five different governments, including El Paso County, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls and Ramah that handles funding of various transportation infrastructure projects.
The road was the solution proposed by UCCS to bridge the main campus with the area hosting the Lane Center, the Ent Center for the Arts, Mountain Lion Stadium and the currently unfinished Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center after the city erected a barrier on Stanton Road.
The city gated off Stanton Road during the summer of 2018 semester after complaints of heavy traffic from the residents of the Eagle Rock neighborhood.
Protests from students that had formerly used the road to travel to the west part of campus began on the basis that without being able to use Stanton Road students and faculty traveling on Austin Bluffs Boulevard and North Nevada Avenue would face increased danger due to high volume traffic.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, traffic during rush hour can last around two to three light cycles between the two halves of campus.
The replacement road will connect the Stanton roundabout, located near the Roaring Fork, and the Eagle Rock Roundabout, located near the Ent Center for the Arts.