Substantial roadwork planned for Grand Lake, US 34
The Grand Lake area might be seeing quite a bit of roadwork in the coming year as both the town and the Colorado Department of Transportation look toward street improvement.
The project the most drivers will see will be on US Highway 34. CDOT plans to pave 18 miles of the highway between Granby and the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. The project should begin in the spring, though details are still be finalized.
CDOT still has some work to complete on the new bridge along US 34 south of Grand Lake that opened in November. The temporary bridge next to the completed one will be demolished and landscaping projects are planned for the spring.
Grand Lake’s budget for the coming year highlighted road improvements as a major priority, focusing on two projects. According to the budget, the town reserves will decrease by over $1.5 million for these projects “critical to Grand Lake’s economic appeal as a world class family vacation destination.”
According to town manager John Crone, Grand Lake will see two major road improvements in town limits this year. The simpler project will be the repaving of Grand Avenue from US 34 to Ellsworth Street.
The more complex project planned this summer is the next phase of the town’s streetscape project. Work will be on Park Avenue from Vine Street to Hancock Street including work on intersecting streets, Crone said.
This project will add 120 new parking spaces as a way to integrate the road into the downtown system, which sees huge influxes of visitors in the summer and especially during its popular Fourth of July fireworks show.
“I don’t know if there will ever be ample parking on July Fourth, but this will make it easier,” Crone added.
It will also include putting in new sewage and drainage systems throughout the entire structure of the road, adding pedestrian pathways and possible streetlights.
The town is still deciding parameters of the streetlights and whether pedestrian pathways will be added on both sides of the street or just the south side. If all goes to plan, the work will start this summer — though that is the busiest time of year for tourism in Grand Lake.
“It is going to create a parking problem over the summer, there’s no stopping that,” Crone said.
Even with this traffic obstacle, the town board has indicated that finishing Park Avenue needs to be a priority to increase parking and improve water clarity. The town has been working on other projects like landscaping along Grand Avenue and those remain to be complete.
“I know a lot of people are concerned we haven’t finished landscaping, but the fact that we’re going to Park Avenue doesn’t mean we’re giving up,” Crone said.
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A project that the Grand Fire Protection District has planned for since 2004 could begin soon.