MONTE VISTA—Traffic concerns are not usually high on people’s lists of worries in the San Luis Valley, but this summer drivers may have to practice extra patience in and surrounding the city of Monte Vista.
Work on Highway 160 through Monte Vista will likely begin sometime in May. Currently, the Colorado Department of Transportation is taking bids until April 11 from construction companies. That project is scheduled to be finished by Oct. 31, 2013.
Crews will not only work on the road, they will also extend the sidewalks and create bulb-outs at two intersections. Once construction is finished the highway will have just one lane going each direction and bicycle lanes on each side.
The changes to the highway design are intended to slow traffic through town creating safer driving conditions.
Monte Vista crews will finish the downtown area with landscaping and new lights along the road. CDOT will set up the light bases and the city will then install their own poles and lights. Once the new poles are in place the city will again be able to display holiday and seasonal banners on them.
Landscaping will be installed the following year, likely early in the spring.
Local businesses will soon be invited to attend workshops with Ronnie Wisdom and Monte Vista City Manager Don Van Wormer to help them prepare for the construction. The meetings will focus heavily on marketing and staying profitable during the construction.
Monte Vista Public Works Director Robert Vance said that most of the construction work will be done during the day for this portion of the project. He asks people to be “patient” and to continue to support the downtown businesses during the work.
Another road project will begin on Highway 285 going north of Monte Vista. That project will begin near the canal outside of the city boundary, meeting up with the Monte Vista project, which will extend for a distance south and north of the intersection at Highway 160.
The final project, which will expand Highway 160 to four lanes between Monte Vista and Alamosa, already began last year.
Vance says that crews will likely shut down through traffic at the intersections of Highway 160 at Adams and Highway 285, but otherwise traffic should be able to move along at least one side of the road.
There will be slow speeds through all of the construction areas and people should use caution. Vance urges drivers to “pay attention when you’re in construction.”