Expect travel delays; Cyclists asked to avoid the area during working hours due to safety concerns
Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County will begin laying asphalt on portions of Lefthand Canyon Drive between US 36 and Hwy 72/Peak to Peak Byway that washed away during the September 2013 flood on Monday, Aug. 18. The same operation will begin on James Canyon Drive in James Canyon the following Monday, Aug. 25. Work in both canyons will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Work in James Canyon is expected to end in mid-October, while work in Lefthand Canyon is planned through the first week of November.
Travel delays of up to 15-minutes can be expected during working hours and traffic control personnel will be used in sections to direct traffic through work zones.
The work will consist of paving a 22-foot wide asphalt road on the gravel sections of the canyons. In addition, repairs will be made to roadway shoulders and slopes to improve their stability. Striping work will follow the paving operations. The damaged areas of canyon roads are receiving temporary asphalt patches at this time in order to ensure that the roads remain safe and passable for all users through next fall, winter and spring run-off while permanent roadway design plans are completed.
Because permanent reconstruction is not expected to start until the spring of 2015, the asphalt patching will be easier, and less costly to maintain throughout the winter and will improve safety by reducing the number of potholes, ruts and potential for washboarding. The paving project will also include shoulder stabilization work in order to strengthen the roadway in areas where the creek could erode the stream bank and cause structural problems for the road.
Cycling in Construction Zones
Cycling in James Canyon will remain restricted to everyone but permitted locals who commute primarily by bicycle, as it exists today.
Boulder County project managers and engineers and emergency service providers will routinely evaluate cycling safety in Lefthand Canyon during the project and may close the road to recreational cyclists if conditions dictate. Cyclists can expect to see large volumes of heavy machinery and semi tractor-trailers navigating the length of canyon roadway throughout the construction period each work day. In many areas, the roadway shoulder has been washed away, leaving little room for passing cars and forcing cyclists into the main flow of traffic with motor vehicles. When large trucks hauling materials navigate the current state of canyon roads they are forced to cross the center-line in many areas in order to safely travel around some of the sharper corners. While the cab of the truck may now be in the outside lane, the trailer will still be on the inside lane and can actually track onto the outer-half/shoulder and create a dangerous situation for cyclists and other roadway users. The graphic attached to this email depicts this situation.
Boulder County asks that all roadway users navigating these stretches of road be vigilant of their surroundings as travel conditions can change quickly. Cyclists are being asked to ride single-file at all times in Boulder County mountain canyons that are under construction. Motorists are asked to be patient when cyclists are forced off the shoulder and into the roadway, and to use caution when passing cyclists heading up and down the road. Visit the Safe Cycling on Boulder County Canyon Roads website to see current roadway conditions and learn how cyclists and motorist can travel together on county roads.
After the road is repaved, new striping and signage will be applied, which should help alert roadway users to the changing conditions and widths of the road. A motorist-cyclist working group was convened by Boulder County in June of this year that met several times to discuss ways to make travel safer for both groups when using flood-damaged and temporarily repaired canyon and mountain roads. The striping and signage solutions were some of the ideas the group came up with to help everyone safely navigate area roads.
While Boulder County Transportation strives to complete all projects on-time, work is weather dependent and there may be delays due to rain or other unfavorable working conditions. If there are delays due to weather, Boulder County may allow the contractor to work on Saturdays in order to complete the project.