CDOT gives green light for signal on U.S. 40
The town of Winter Park is “basking in the glory” after receiving a letter from the Colorado Department of Transportation approving and supporting the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and East Kings Crossing Road, said Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson.
“Overall plan and design has shown a plan for this signal since 1986,” Nelson said. “So it has been on the long term horizon for a while.”
The announcement of the letter from CDOT brought a round of applause from not only the Winter Park Town Council but also the audience members of the town council meeting that took place the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 18.
The letter of approval comes after years of research, analysis, and work by the town to identify the necessity and benefits of the traffic light.
Before the letter from CDOT was received, it was undecided whether the traffic signal would be installed at the Kings Crossing intersection or the intersection of First Street and Highway 40.
“There have been many different efforts from many different people to secure this traffic signal,” Nelson said.
The letter states: “It appears that a signal at Kings Crossing would serve a larger number of properties than First Street would serve, meets the requirements of the [State Highway Access Code], and better serves the overall corridor than a signal at First Street would.”
“Its going to help the flow of traffic and eventually supply a better and safer route out of the recreation center,” said Terry Stanford, director of land development for Rendezvous, a Koelbel and Company real estate development in Fraser. “I think it is good for the entire community, both Winter park and Fraser, by improving safety and access on and off Highway 40.”
The town is still waiting to receive the permit from CDOT for the traffic signal in order to start construction. However, the letter the permit will be sent by Sept. 21.
Installation of the light is not expected to start until next year, Nelson said.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” he said. “There may be a number of conditions we need to meet to exercise the permit.”
The project is expected to cost between $1.2 million and $1.5 million. The town plans to use its own money to fund the project while seeking other forms of funding, such as grants, Nelson said.
The process of seeking out other forms of funding and applying for those takes time, according to Nelson, which is another reason the project will not start until next year.
The town will conduct further research by reaching out to property owners as well as business owners who would like to comment on the project.
The light will be constructed to match the aesthetic values and functionality of other traffic signals in the area, he said.
This signal is just one part of a much larger project called the North Portal Enhancement Project, which includes plans to complete numerous improvements to the north side of Winter Park from the post office to the northern boundary of the town.
“This is the start of the culmination of our commitment to the folks who live and work here,” Nelson said.
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