Road construction on the lower portion of King’s Crossing Road in Winter Park will continue through the summer as projects work to improve pedestrian access and create a whistle-free quiet zone at the train crossing.
The work may include partial and full road closures.
“There will be days when it will be fully closed, but we’re trying to be cognizant of that,” said Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson. “We certainly understand that it is an inconvenience.”
To some, the inconvenience is minor. Attorney Nick Catanzarite drives through the construction zone, which is about two blocks long, daily from his home to work at Peters/Mair/Wilcox Law Firm. He doesn’t mind avoiding the work but often forgets about it until it’s too late.
“I forget that it’s there because it’s not really a big deal to get around it,” he said.
Conroy Excavating from Tabernash, won the contract for the road improvements currently underway.
“We realized that we really needed to do some work on King’s Crossing, because if you go over there and see the sidewalk that we are putting in now and the other improvements that we are doing—it really had been neglected for quite a length of time—actually, forever,” said Nelson.
The road improvements, which should be done at the end of July, include new inlet boxes for better drainage, a sidewalk that extends up to Trestle Drive, and an asphalt walkway to the railroad tracks, roughly following the existing gravel path.
“As a business owner, I’m very happy with the progress. You can really see it starting to take shape. It’s a major improvement for the north end of town. I’ve worked closely with the town manager and the design team to make sure the improvements will help the Pub,” said Jeff Williams, owner of the Winter Park Pub, located adjacent to the new sidewalk.
The project mimics the Vasquez Road sidewalk to Van Anderson Drive, which was deemed a success when completed in 2008, according to Nelson.
Like on Vasquez, the next phase of the project, scheduled to continue through October, incorporates a quiet zone railroad crossing and continuous pedestrian access all the way to Wolf Park.
The town made the original application for the quiet zone to the Public Utilities Commission in 2010, but their hearing was just this month. Pending approval, Union Pacific will install electronic sensory equipment necessary for safe crossing without whistles. The town will pay for all the equipment as well as all civil improvements surrounding the tracks.
“We’re very close to being able to pull the trigger,” said Nelson of the pending status.
Further unknowns in the schedule are due to the railroad’s role.
“The catch is going to be when Union Pacific can deliver electronics and sensory equipment for the quiet zone crossing,” said Nelson, adding that they already have a contractual agreement with the railroad in place.
Bids for the quiet zone work are being accepted at the town clerk’s office until 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 9.
The total cost of the quiet zone project is an estimated $360,000. A portion of the funding is $150,000 in grant dollars awarded to the town from the Energy and Mineral Assistance Fund through Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs.
“It will be nice to be able to sit in our backyard and enjoy the mountains without covering our ears when the whistles blow,” said Hideaway Junction resident Diane Jacobsen of the quiet zone. “Although to be honest, we’re used to them. My 3-year-old sleeps right through them.”
Detailed plans of both projects are available on the Town of Winter Park website, www.winterparkgov.com.