In 2011, the Engineering Department completed an Arterial Intersection Prioritization Study which listed the Shields Street and Westbury Drive intersection as one of the top ranked locations for needed safety and operational improvements. Existing problems which brought this intersection to the top of the list include: higher than average vehicle accident rates, significant congestion during the peak travel hours, substandard intersection configuration, and intersection delay. The project will include multi-modal facility improvements to create a safer and more efficient intersection for all users.
The Intersection Study identified the need for an additional northbound travel lane from Clarendon Hills to Westbury. Currently, this stretch of roadway is heavily congested because northbound traffic is in conflict with high volumes of right turning vehicles at the Shields Street entrance to Front Range Community College. This second lane will improve traffic flow by relieving congestion for northbound traffic, whereby the outside lane will act as a right turn lane during the peak hours and a through lane during the off-peak hours. The proposed improvements will reduce the morning peak hour delay by 18%.
After looking at this stretch of roadway in more detail, we have also decided to take advantage of the existing curb and gutter in the southbound direction. There are two southbound locations that will be patched as part of the project. The entire road will then receive a 2" overlay with new striping.
We also anticipate better lane utilization in the southbound direction as traffic approaches Harmony Road, by carrying two travel lanes through the Westbury and Clarendon Hills intersections.
When completed, Shields Street will be a four lane roadway with a center left turn and on-street bike lanes for approximately 0.5 miles south of Harmony.
The project will funded through a cost sharing agreement between the City and Xcel Energy. The paving work will occur after Xcel has gone through this section of road with their high pressure gas line replacement. The City and Xcel are currently working on the proposed gas line alignment, the construction schedule, and agreements. The City will be using the Building on Basics (BOB) Intersection Funds from the voter approved quarter-cent sales tax for its portion of the project cost.
A detailed communication plan is being developed and will be implemented with the final design phase through construction. The communication plan will highlight milestone dates, press releases, social media outlets and specific outreach methods for residents and the travelling public.
This website will be updated with exact construction dates as the City and Xcel get closer to finalizing the schedule.
Additionally, the project construction information will be available on FC Trip @ http://www.fcgov.com/fctrip/.
Tim Kemp, Capital Projects Engineer
City of Fort Collins