Construction officially began with an Oct. 29 groundbreaking for what Castle Rock officials are calling the town’s largest road construction project ever — a two-mile-long road, costing about $65 million, that will give The Meadows subdivision, which is west of Interstate 25, another way to get to I-25.
It’s expected the new road will take off about half of the traffic now using Meadows Parkway to and from the Founders Parkway interchange with I-25, says Dan Sailer, project manager and Castle Rock’s assistant director of public works.
The new road will be located about a mile north of Meadows Parkway. It will begin where North Meadows Drive currently ends, near Castle View High School in The Meadows, and continue all the way west to I-25. It’s a complex project involving among other things the construction of two interchanges and two bridges, and the involvement of the Federal Highway Administration, Sailer said.
But growth is requiring that it be undertaken now, he said. Meadows Parkway is a stretch of road that’s currently stretched — as that’s now a main access point for commuters and factory outlets shoppers.
“Intersections along Meadows Parkway at I-25 and between U.S. 85 are nearing capacity level during peak hours,” said Sailer.
The most recent traffic counts for a 24-hour period on three segments of Meadows Parkway show an average of about 30,733 vehicle trips — both directions — on Meadows Parkway in the segment from Prairie Hawk Drive to U.S. Highway 85 (Sante Fe Drive); an average of 31,964 trips for the U.S. 85 to Factory Shops Boulevard segment; and the largest volume, 52,355 trips, in the Factory Shops Boulevard to I-25 segment.
And those numbers are expected to grow. The Meadows currently has about 14,500 residents and is only about 55 percent to 60 percent built out, according to information from Caroline Kipp, a town spokeswoman.
The project, called the North Meadows Extension, is being funded in part by a 2005 bond issue and a $10.5 million contribution from Douglas County, and is expected to be done in late 2015.
The project involves among other things construction of two new interchanges, one at Interstate 25, and one over U.S. Highway 85 — as well as two bridges, one over Plum Creek and Union Pacific Railroad, and the other over Burlington Northern/Sante Fe railroad tracks, Sailer said.
Also involved is getting easements from about 30 homeowners whose backyards back up to North Meadows Drive near the high school so that a sound wall can be built to mitigate noise for them. Another sound wall will be needed for The Pines Apartments west of U.S. Highway 85, as the new road heads west between those apartments to the south and Castle Pines Village to the north.
“This is a massive project, something we don’t typically see (at the municipal government level),” Sailer said.
He said one of the major challenges, which will be dealt with during the project’s last phase, Phase 3, will be poor soils in an alluvial-fan area where the interchange needs to be built over U.S. 85. It will mean that instead of bringing in dirt and building on that, workers will have to dig down to bedrock and build structures to support the interchange, Sailer explained. The resulting interchange will look similar to the Titan Road interchange, which is north on U.S. 85.
Dealing with such issues will be a Greenwood Village design and engineering firm, Tsiouvaras Simmons Holderness, and the general contractor, Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc., a Wisconsin firm with a regional office based in Castle Rock that has a national reputation, particularly as a bridge specialist, and is currently involved in the I-70 twin tunnel project.
“They’ve got a great reputation … We have such an outstanding team,” Sailer said.
Castle Rock Town Council recently approved a $2.34 million contract to start construction of part of Phase 1, basically dirt work and some utility work in the area of Castle View High School. That area is shown in yellow on a map that can be viewed at http://crgov.com/DocumentCenter/View/5235.
“We are thrilled that the day is here that we will see earth moving on this project, after years of preparation and hard work by many,” Mayor Paul Donahue said after the approval. “This is truly a historic milestone for the Town of Castle Rock.”