CDOT Eyes Lamar Main Street Improvements



The Lamar Reliever Route and CDOT plans for Lamar’s Main Street were presented to Prowers County Development Incorporated board members by Paul Westhoff, CDOT Resident Engineer this past Tuesday, December 31.  Although financing for the by-pass around Lamar is still a future issue at this time, Westhoff said CDOT is still concerned about safety issues for Highway 287 through Lamar.  

“Our studies have shown we need to improve travel conditions and accommodate increased projected motor vehicle through the downtown area,” he said.  Much of the anticipated growth in traffic will come from future development of the Ports to Plains Corridor.  Westhoff explained that CDOT estimates there are now 1,740 trucks a day that run through downtown Lamar, or about 635,100 annually.  Over the next 20 years, the numbers are expected to grow by 35% to 854,830 a year, or 2,342 a day.  General traffic is expected to grow from 17,000 vehicles a day (6.2 million a year) to over 22,000 a day (8.4 million a year) in the same time frame.  That may be a conservative estimate.  Westhoff said he spoke with Joe Kiley of Ports to Plains and the current truck figures are exceeding the 2030 estimate given in the 2004 Ports to Plains study created by departments of transportation in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. 

While the Reliever Route is not moving forward, Westhoff said CDOT is working with a design consultant to develop plans for addressing the deteriorating condition of downtown Highway 287, specifically between Parkway Street to the south and Colonia Avenue adjacent to the Lamar Canal by Pizza Hut.  Westhoff said some work may begin in 2015 and it would be a comprehensive project, incorporating the infrastructure of water and electric mains under the street, not just a simple overlay of several inches.  “We’re looking at the pros and cons of removing the median,” Westhoff explained and said a consultant from Boulder who specializes in street lighting will probably be consulted on where the lamp posts would be best located along the downtown route.   

There was no price tag attached to the refurbishment project, but Westhoff explained that funding sources include the Highway Users Tax Fund, RAMP Funding or a proposal planned for discussion in the state legislature next year called MPACT 64 which would be sales tax funded.  The engineer wasn’t specific on how the project costs would be divided among CDOT, the city or county, but did say future discussions will be held for interested parties as well as public comment on the project proposals.  He told the PCDI board a website, is available for an update on the entire transportation system for the state, as well as southeast Colorado considerations. 

The PCDI board discussed some alternatives for the annual dinner meeting, but no specifics were developed beyond showcasing opportunities for future economic and business seminars in 2014.  The next board meeting is set for Tuesday, January 28.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityCountyEconomyFeaturedLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyTourismTransportationUtilities


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