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Engineering

Vine / Lemay / BNSF Intersection Improvements#

Background#

Background

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Lemay Avenue realignment and intersection improvements have been prioritized as the City's No. 1 Transportation Capital Improvement Project. The improvements will construct a new road and intersection slightly east of the existing Vine and Lemay intersection. The City has utilized an extensive planning process to arrive at an ultimate solution that includes a new bridge over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railway and existing Vine Drive.

The existing Vine and Lemay intersection, which includes the BNSF Railway crossing, is severely congested with limited options to expand through or turn capacity due to land use constraints. Through and extensive alternatives analysis process, the City selected a bridge over the BNSF railroad tracks and Vine Drive as the preferred alternative to address the needed safety and congestion improvements.

Project Goals#

The Lemay realignment and overpass is included within the City's land use and economic development plan (Mountain Vista Subarea Plan) which was created as a long-term planning vision for the northeast section of Fort Collins. Improvement of the intersection has become a safety issue for residents, BNSF, emergency services and the public. With this project, our primary goals are:

  • Neighborhood Livability
  • Congestion relief
  • Strong urban design and landscaping
  • Multimodal improvements
  • Safety
  • Coordinate with future development of northeast Fort Collins

One of the fundamental aims of the Lemay realignment is to complete critical transportation improvements to enhance connectivity for local neighborhoods and provide safe and reliable access to emergency services, employment centers and businesses, schools, shopping, medical services and the like.

Currently, residents of both the Alta Vista and Andersonville neighborhoods (located at the Vine/Lemay intersection), as well as people traveling north and south in the area, suffer from the constraints of severe congestion on a daily basis. This project will help alleviate traffic issues along existing roadways and the BNSF rail corridor.

This project will also help facilitate the development of new housing and employment opportunity in a priority infill area near downtown Fort Collins. In recent years, this area has become the focus of increased economic and housing activity. Safe and efficient connections are necessary to ensure equity and livability within northeast Fort Collins and access throughout the city.

Resilient, accessible, and safe systems for all modes of travel - whether by bike, walking, transit, or vehicle - are critical to the project's success. This project is an important part of the City's Enhanced Travel Corridor network, which is intended to provide a system of multi-modal corridor connections between key activity centers, access to high frequency transit service, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. 

The City has also registered this project with Greenroads International, a non-profit that advances sustainability education and initiatives for transportation infrastructure. Greenroads manages a certification process for sustainable transportation development projects in the U.S. and internationally. Obtaining this certification is a goal of the project and will help the City in achieving its goals in the Climate Action Plan.

Read the Press Release

Current Funding#

The final funding for the project was secured in the City of Fort Collins’ final 2021 budget that was approved by City Council in November 2020. This was a significant milestone that allowed the project to proceed to final design and complete construction.

The total project budget is approximately $24 million, of which approximately $9 million has been identified to come from the City’s Transportation Capital Expansion Fee (TCEF) program. The TCEF program contributes funds to projects where there are impacts from developments causing additional stress on the transportation system. 

Through previous budget processes, the City has also appropriated and spent approximately $3 million on preliminary design, right-of-way acquisitions, construction of dirt embankment, installation of a large box culvert for storm events, public outreach, and various other tasks

Schedule#

The City is currently at a 50% design level with the plan set, and has secured access to all of the right-of-way required to construct the realignment. The City has secured a construction contractor through an alternative project delivery approach called Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC). Construction activities are currently underway with staging and mobilization, with significant work expected to begin in early April 2021. Below is a general timeline through project completion:

  • January – May: Finalize design and railroad processes 
  • Late February: Resume on-site construction, primarily off existing roadways with embankment, drainage and walls
  • April/May – Begin roadway and drainage construction
  • May/June – Begin bridge construction
  • November – Complete bridge construction and final roadway paving
  • December 2021 – Project complete by end of 2021, pending final landscaping and weather dependent items

Current Traffic/Construction Impacts#

  • Buckingham Street will be temporarily closed from existing 9th Street/Lemay Avenue east to 10th Street,
  • The one-way access south from 10th Street to Duff Drive will also be closed.
  • Expect additional truck and construction traffic in and around the project area, but no lane closures are currently in place
  • Roadside work along existing Lemay Avenue north of Vine Drive may require shoulder closures and slight lane shifts to facilitate the installation of a large diameter (48”) storm sewer system (A4 Lateral Line). This work is a partnership with the City Utilities Department
  • The project team is coordinating with the Northfield development to limit impacts and traffic delays

Frequently Asked Questions#

Will the existing surface BNSF crossing be closed once the project is done?highlight_off

No. The existing crossing at Vine Drive and 9th Street/Lemay Avenue will remain open and unchanged to ensure connectivity is maintained between neighborhoods and other amenities. 

Will Vine Drive be connected to the realigned Lemay roadway?highlight_off

No, Vine Drive will not connect directly to Realigned Lemay. Users will have to go north or south on existing Lemay Avenue off from Vine Drive and connect to realigned Lemay via Suniga Drive to the north or Buckingham Street to the south.

What sections of Suniga Drive will be completed with the project?highlight_off

In conjunction with the Northfield Development, the City will be connecting Suniga Drive from College Avenue to realigned Lemay as a new 4-lane arterial. This work will be complete by the end of the project and function as new major east-west arterial connection in northeast Fort Collins.

Will there be closures on Vine for overpass construction?highlight_off

There will need to be intermittent closures during bridge construction (Summer 2021), but it is not anticipated that there will be lengthy closures or impacts to Vine Drive during the majority of the project.

Is the Buckingham Street closure permanent?highlight_off

No. Buckingham will be slightly re-routed at the end of the project to tie into Duff Drive on the east side of realigned Lemay Avenue. 

Will there be an intersection of Duff Drive and realigned Lemay?highlight_off

Yes, there will be a new intersection at Duff Drive/Buckingham Street and Realigned Lemay. It has not yet been determined if this intersection will be signalized.

Will there be new traffic signals on the realigned Lemay?highlight_off

The City will be replacing the existing signal at Lincoln/Lemay intersection as part of this project and constructing a new signal at Suniga Drive and realigned Lemay.

The City is also exploring whether or not a signal will be warranted at the new Duff Drive/Buckingham Street intersection with realigned Lemay.

What will bike/pedestrian accommodations be on the realigned Lemay?highlight_off

The project includes buffered and separated bike lanes along the corridor as well as sidewalks and pedestrian access. 

As the roadway goes up and over the railroad tracks there will be an attached 12-foot wide multi-use path on both sides of the roadway to accommodate both bikes and pedestrians, thus minimizing the project footprint and overall costs.

What does Green Roads certification mean?highlight_off

The project is currently seeking certification through the Green Roads program which recognizes projects for exceeding industry standards related to green construction practices such as recycled materials, innovative contracting methods, air quality standards, improving neighborhood access, etc.

Visit https://www.greenroads.org/ for more information about the organization and their certification process as well as other award-winning projects. 

Contact#

Dan Woodward | Project Manager – Civil Engineer III | 970-416-4203 | dwoodward@fcgov.com | Fort Collins, Colorado USA