Where can I find more information about the public meeting that was held on October 26, 2021?
A Public Meeting held on Oct. 26 hosted more than 70 community members. City staff and project partners including the contractor, were on hand to answer questions in an open house format. Materials from the meeting are posted under Project Map and Exhibits on this page. Additional questions can go to staff at the Project Hotline 303-390-0878 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When will construction start?
City Council awarded the construction contract for the Wadsworth Improvement Project to Concrete Works of Colorado. Construction is anticipated to begin in late October. The current project rebuilds Wadsworth between 41st Avenue and I 70 and adds a continuous flow intersection at 44th Avenue. The contractor team will also complete several major improvements between 35th Avenue and 41st Avenue. This additional work includes improving Wadsworth so there are three lanes in each direction through the 38th Avenue intersection, adding a sidewalk and bike/pedestrian trail, and constructing a center median.
The first phase of work involves demolition and grading activity adjacent to southbound Wadsworth in order to pave temporary roadway. Once the temporary roadway is paved, all traffic will shift to the west side of the road in order to construct the new northbound lanes and improvements along the east side of Wadsworth. Utility relocation work is underway.
How will the Wadsworth construction project improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility?
The project includes:
New sidewalk along the west side of Wadsworth and a continuous multi-use path along the east side. The new sidewalks will be at least eight feet wide in all but one location and will be separated from the street by either an eight-foot landscape zone or a narrower paved section.
New direct connections to Johnson Park and the Clear Creek Trail. More information is provided under the ‘Will this project improve access to the Clear Creek Trail?’ FAQ.
Raised crosswalks across right-turn lanes at several locations. At intersections where the right-turn lane is separated from other lanes by a concrete island, a raised crosswalk is included to slow drivers down. Raised crosswalks will be constructed at the northwest and southeast corners of the 44th Avenue intersection and the northwest corner of 38th Avenue intersection.
Consolidating driveways to reduce potential conflicts. The project will improve access control along the corridor. Pedestrians and cyclists will benefit from fewer driveway crossings. In addition, major driveway crossings will be set back from the street and striped with crosswalk markings to help increase safety.
Pedestrian lighting. The project includes pedestrian lighting along sidewalks and paths for safety and to increase visibility at driveways and street crossings.
Will this project improve access to the Clear Creek Trail?
Yes! New direct connections to Johnson Park and the Clear Creek Trail will be constructed. A new eight-foot wide sidewalk will be built on the west side of Wadsworth between 48th Avenue and the driveway to Johnson Park. This section of sidewalk will be higher than the adjacent travel lanes and increases safety for pedestrians.
A new multi-use path will be constructed along the east side of Wadsworth connecting directly to Clear Creek Trail. The path will be separated from vehicle traffic by either a four-feet landscape zone or bridge railing. Sidewalk and path improvements are designed to increase accessibility for all users.
Does the design change the access to businesses?
The final design promotes safe access to businesses along Wadsworth with the addition of medians and new traffic signals. While left turns may be limited for safety in some areas of the corridor by the medians, safe signalized left turns will be allowed into major shopping centers at 36th, 39th, 43rd, and 45th Avenues. Cyclists and pedestrians also have greater access to businesses from the new sidewalks that will run the length of Wadsworth from 35th Avenue to the Clear Creek Trail.
What does the project cost?
In 2018, the estimated cost for the entire project was $45 million. Due to adding over $3 million in water quality and sanitary sewer work on top of dramatic increases in both property acquisition and construction costs, the total project estimate grew to almost $70 million, of which $62 million is currently funded.
Wadsworth Boulevard is a state highway and therefore under the control and jurisdiction of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). While improving Wadsworth has been identified as a priority for more than 20 years, CDOT was unable to make improvements alone due to the lack of available funding. In fact, CDOT last widened this section of Wadsworth in 1950.
Therefore, in 2014 and in partnership with CDOT, the City of Wheat Ridge applied for federal transportation funds through a Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) grant to fund the improvements. This project received the highest score of all metro-wide street improvement proposals and a federal grant of over $25 million was awarded to improve Wadsworth Boulevard.
Following the successful TIP grant award, additional federal, state and local grants have been secured. At this point, federal funding is contributing almost $40 million toward Wadsworth improvements. The State of Colorado is contributing almost $6 million in CDOT funding. The City is contributing almost $13 million in total; $7 million of which comes from voter approved 2E bond funds and the remainder comes from the City's Capital Improvement Program fund. Wheat Ridge Water and Sewer Districts are contributing a total of over $3 million to upgrade the water and sanitary sewer mains in the street. Jefferson County is also contributing almost $500,000 towards the connection to the Clear Creek Trail on the east side.
In summary, only about 21% of the funding for this project comes from the City. Leveraging $7 million in voter approved 2E funds and an additional $6 million in City funds into a $62 million project is a great value for Wheat Ridge.
Will this project be constructed in phases?
Yes. Due to the escalating values of property required to be purchased for the improvements along with increased construction costs, this project will be phased. The current project, to be under construction in 2021, is primarily from approximately 41st Avenue north to I-70. Several improvements south of 41st Avenue are included.
The current project includes a new safe and efficient intersection design at 44th Avenue called a continuous flow intersection (CFI). The CFI makes the best use of land for maximum traffic flow, while prioritizing safety. The CFI is easy to navigate due to good signage and markings, and will be separated from the north and southbound lanes by a short, narrow median.
Two new signalized intersections will be constructed for business access at approximately 45th and 43rd. The existing retaining walls north of 48th Avenue approaching the highway will be replaced and improved to accommodate six lanes of traffic and become more visually appealing, creating a beautiful gateway into Wheat Ridge.
The current project will include continuous concrete paths on each side of Wadsworth from 35th Avenue to the Clear Creek Trail. The project will include several landscaped areas both in the medians and as buffers between the sidewalk and the street.
Schedule information is available under the Project Map and Exhibits section.
How will the federal government be involved?
More than 67% of the total project funding comes from the federal government. This means that there has and will continue to be strict federal and state processes, guidelines and timelines that must be followed.
The City and CDOT began working on improving Wadsworth in January 2013 with the Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) Study. The PEL study, which is usually the first step in a major transportation-related project, took approximately two years to complete and focused on transportation, environmental, economic and community issues. The study's recommendation identified improvements needed to add traffic capacity to Wadsworth, provide additional turning capacity at the key congested intersections at 38th and 44th Avenues, install medians to better manage access and make the corridor more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
Many of the PEL study's recommendations were carried forward into final design. However, an initial recommendation included double left-turn intersections at 38th and 44th Avenues; a recommendation that was not carried forward as it was later proven to be inadequate to meet future traffic volumes which is a condition of the federal funding. Instead, these double left-turn lanes were replaced with single lane Continuous Flow Intersections (CFIs) which will best meet the future traffic volume projections and are therefore compliant with federal regulations. Additionally, CFIs have proven to be safer alternatives to traditional intersections and in this case, will require less property.
The next phase of the project was to complete the Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine and mitigate the impacts of the project on adjacent properties. The EA process lasted more than 4 years and concluded in September, 2019 with federal approval of the project.
Did the public get to weigh in on the design?
Yes. Since 2014, members of the project team have conducted more than 30 public meetings plus "block by block" meetings with businesses to create the final design you see today. This has resulted in more than 300 comments that have been tracked and considered. The final design took into account the input of the public, businesses, neighbors, and Wheat Ridge voters who supported improvements to Wadsworth in the 2016 election. It balances that input with state and federal requirements, which apply to this state highway, in order to fully fund the project.
Will construction impact local traffic?
During construction, the contractor for the Wadsworth Improvement project is required to keep two lanes open in each direction except for periodic northbound single lane closures during off-peak travel times, and occasional night work. However, even with the same number of lanes open on Wadsworth, we recognize that neighborhoods may be impacted by drivers avoiding the project area.
Wheat Ridge Police and Public Works Departments are working with the construction team to address those impacts through proactive community outreach and notification, good signage, strategic placement of speed feedback boards, and increased traffic patrols. Traffic speed and volumes will be monitored on streets with potential traffic concerns.
Anyone with neighborhood traffic concerns can call the construction project team at 303-390-0878 or email WadsworthProject@ci.wheatridge.co.us and we will review on a case-by-case basis. If initial actions are not effective, additional temporary traffic calming measures may be considered.
What is a CFI and how does it work?
Are CFIs easy to use?
Yes. By following lane markings, signage, and other cars, drivers will intuitively know where to go to make a left hand turn as they drive along Wadsworth Boulevard.
Does the use of CFIs require more property than traditional intersections?
No. Our CFI design will move cars more efficiently and take up less space than a traditional intersection with two left turn lanes. This means the City will purchase less property at 38th and 44th Avenues than would have been necessary with traditional intersections at these locations.
Can CFIs be plowed?
Yes. Snow removal in CFI lanes does not pose any greater concern than traditional intersections. As with all state highways, the City and CDOT will work collaboratively to ensure the improved Wadsworth Boulevard, including CFI lanes, is plowed during a snowstorm. While a final determination has not yet been made, it is quite likely that City staff will take responsibility for plowing the CFI lanes on Wadsworth Boulevard.
Will RTD bus stops be impacted during construction?
Yes. Temporary bus stop closures will be necessary during construction. The project team is working closely with RTD on transit impacts along the corridor. RTD Rider Alerts for route 76 (<<link: https://www.rtd-denver.com/app/alerts/routes/76>>) will provide the latest bus stop closure information.
Currently, the following two stops are closed along southbound Wadsworth through 2022: Wadsworth Blvd & W 45th Pl (#16971) and Wadsworth Blvd & W 41st Ave (#16965). The bus stop at Wadsworth Blvd & W 46th Ave (#16973) remains open in a temporary configuration.