Lamar Chamber Merchants Host Meeting on Main Street Project

Business Owners Receive Briefing on Construction Project

Business Owners Receive Briefing on Construction Project


CDOT’s Main Street overlay project for Lamar is developing, but there’s no guarantee of a start date on the calendar at this point.  Brian Long, CDOT’s representative for southeast Colorado, provided an outline of the project during a gathering of Lamar Downtown Merchants this past Tuesday, January 13, but wasn’t specific on a start date, “Nothing is set in stone at this point.  A lot of it depends on when we start the ads for a contractor, but some work could begin by the spring of 2016,” he estimated.

Brian Long, CDOT Representative for S.E. Colorado

Brian Long, CDOT Representative for S.E. Colorado

Close to three dozen persons, many of them downtown store owners, were on hand to learn what type of economic impact the comprehensive road upgrades would have on their business.  Representatives from the City of Lamar and Prowers County also attended.  The overlay project was brought to prominence shortly after CDOT announced that the proposed Reliever Route around the City of Lamar had not received funding last year.  The current improvement plan, developed mostly over safety concerns for traffic through Lamar, is how best to replace the city’s water and electric system underneath the street and improve the new road for increased traffic for decades to come.

Long said, “I expect that after a contractor is hired, we could see some work get underway by March of 2016.”  He added, “We’re only going to get one shot on this, so we want to make sure that all of our plans are going to work.”  Long told the crowd at the Lamar Chamber offices that a lot of preliminary design work will precede the actual construction which will be conducted in several phases, depending on financing for the project over the next several years.

“I would imagine the construction would begin up around Pizza Hut and move south on one side of the highway while traffic in the north or southbound lane will run face to face,” he offered.  Long said he believed work would be conducted on a three block stretch and estimated that would take from three to four weeks.  Side street traffic would be closed off to the construction areas as the project moves through downtown Lamar.  Once work on one side of the three block area was completed, the next section would get underway.  “The first phase will involve removing the median and the center lights which will be moved onto the sidewalks,” he said.  While this is underway, crews will begin to replace the water mains under the roadway.  Lamar City Administrator, John Sutherland, explained, “The water mains are underneath the west side of Main Street.”  Long said there are some underground electrical lines, but most of the power comes from the lines along the alleys to the rear of the downtown stores.  He said there would be only a minimum impact to water and electric service while a section of the street is being upgraded.  “Because of safety concerns, we have to have water supplied to the fire hydrants all the time,” he added.

The improvement project will continue to allow parking along Main Street, Long stated, and he stated he believed that past Parkway Street to the south, CDOT will take about three feet off the edge of roadway on either side of the highway to use to erect the street lighting.  “The road is wider at that point leading to Savage Avenue and there are fewer businesses in that vicinity so there’s very little parking on the street,” he said.

Lisa Carder, Chamber Office Manager, told the gathering that LPI, Lamar Partnerships Incorporated is creating ‘business survival kits’ with recommendation on how best to get through the construction work that will eventually impact all the downtown area businesses.  CDOT will provide signage on available parking and some initial improvement plans will be provided following a study conducted recently by students from the University of Denver.  Additional information will also be provided.  Long said,” CDOT plans to hold a series of informational meetings on what to expect once the plans become more specific.”  He said the best estimate would see major construction begin by March of 2016 and the first phase of the project should be finished by the end of the summer.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinessCitycommunityEconomyFeaturedLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyTourismTransportationUtilities


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