The goals for this project are to: improve safety for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians; install right turn lanes north and south bound; reduce movements in a full movement intersection; and improve air quality through reduced vehicle wait time.
In 2011, the City conducted and completed an Arterial Intersection Priority Study which ranked the Shields and Drake intersection in the top 10 for needed enhancements. The major reasons this intersection is at the top include: insufficient wait times, higher than average vehicle accident rates, and elevated levels of vehicle delay (congestion). The improvements will also include reducing the Shields and Davidson intersection 400 feet south to a ¾ movement from the full movement that exists currently.
Both intersections have yielded a higher than average accident rate. These intersections have a high volume of trips associated in part to nearby destinations including Colorado State University and Vet School, and the Rocky Mountain High School. Without dedicated right turn lanes, the right turn conflict that arises with bicyclists is a common occurrence.
The right turn lanes planned for this intersection will require additional right of way, or vehicular and pedestrian easement dedications. City of Fort Collins Real Estate services will assist in this process. The additional land needs are expected to only be on the northwest and southeast corners.
There is not an expected need of additional right of way or easements of the Davidson/Shields intersection.
The estimated cost for the conceptual design is approximately $1M. This includes design, right of way / easement acquisition and construction. The funding for this project is provided through a Federal Hazard Elimination grant that requires a local match portion. Any approved overages will be expended to additional local match money. This grant has been awarded by Colorado Department of Transportation to the City of Fort Collins with the issuance of the notice to proceed in January 2014.
The anticipated effort to construct the new turn lanes and restricted medians will have some impact on existing traffic. Delays are expected. However, meeting the deadline of a summer 2015 construction completion will help in that daily trips are generally less as schools are out of session, and other modes of transportation are used.