Cortez’s $1 million Access Control Plan, which includes building medians on Main Street, is expected to be completed by the end of October, contractors and the city say.
The project is funded by the city and Colorado Department of Transportation and includes repaving some alleys on both sides of Main.
The city has been planning to install medians as part of a long-term plan designed to make the corridor safer and more aesthetically pleasing. The project originally was scheduled to be completed in 2017 but was delayed after no construction company submitted a bid.
This summer, the project again was delayed after crews ran into a water line problem at the McDonald’s median and fiber optic cable in a north side alley, Cortez Mayor Karen Sheek said Wednesday.
Otherwise, Sheek said she was pleased with how the project was going.
“I’ve been in favor of this all along,” she said. “When it’s done, I think people will say, ‘Gee, it has slowed down traffic, and it improved our curb appeal.’”
The project includes a median and crosswalk between Edith Street and Roger Smith Avenue in front of McDonald’s, with lights to control traffic. It was installed in August.
Main Street medians are also planned on each of the four blocks between Elm and Ash streets.
On Thursday, crews from Western Gravel Constructors of Montrose were working to finish the two medians between Market and Ash. Work on the two medians between Elm and Market was expected to begin next week.
Other aspects of the project include replacing sidewalk ramps in the central business district and repaving alleys.
On the north side of Main, at least parts of four alleys will be paved with concrete between North Elm and North Ash. On Thursday, Western Gravel Constructors were beginning work on the currently unpaved part of the alley between North Elm and North Chestnut and were finishing the alley between North Chestnut and North Market. The alley between North Market and North Beech has been repaved, and crews still will repave the alley between North Beech and North Ash.
The city might later consider paving additional alleys between North Maple and North Harrison, Sheek said.
On the south side of Main, crews plan to repave the unfinished part of the alley between South Chestnut and South Market and the alleys between South Market and South Ash.
Contractors have staggered the projects to avoid working on a median and alley in the same block at the same time.
The CDOT project also includes replacing curb ramps along Main Street from Edith to Elm streets to make them more accessible and ADA-compliant.
During working hours, traffic along the median sites was reduced to one lane, and left turns onto Main Street were prohibited at each site.
The city of Cortez has leased several lots downtown to provide off-street parking during construction. They are at the northeast corner of First and Elm streets, the vacant lot on Main Street between North Market and Beech streets and the vacant lot on Main Street between North Beech and North Ash streets.
The project will be partly funded by a $200,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The rest will come from the city’s streets improvement fund, which includes $975,000 for downtown projects in 2018.