71st Avenue Improvements12th to 22nd Street
In 2010, 71st Avenue was widened to meet City standards from 10th to 12th Street in accordance with a development agreement with King Soopers in the Northgate Development. The 71st Avenue project will pick up from where that project left off and widen 71st from 12th Street to 22nd Street. As part of this project the existing Sheep Draw bridge, which is currently undersized for passing major event flood waters, will be reconstructed.
Additionally, an 8’ sidewalk and attached 7’ bike lanes will be installed within these limits in order improve pedestrian safety for the corridor as well as to allow for on street bike connection to the 20th Street intersection and beyond. Other enhancements include a striped/raised median with landscaping improvements along the limits of the project.
Completion of this project is phased over three years (2017 – 2019) to allow for design and right of way acquisition in the first year and the Sheep Draw bridge replacement and roadway construction the second year.
Construction in under reduce congestion, increase safety and improve the road conditions on 71st Avenue between 12th and 22nd streets.
This $8 million Keep Greeley Moving (KGM) project will improve the old county road to modern city standards – specifically two-lane minor arterial standards. That means the mile-long stretch of 71st Avenue will grow to include center and right-turn lanes, bike paths, detached sidewalks and more. The project will also completely replace the Sheep Draw Bridge south of 12th Street, which will allow for the future expansion of Sheep Draw trail beneath it.
All those improvements mean a lot of work needs to take place this summer in order to finish the project by its planned end-of-November deadline — some landscaping work will take until next year to complete. Crews will start staging construction equipment as early as April 2, and the actual roadwork is scheduled to begin April 9.
Throughout the summer the construction work will cause several closures and delays for drivers. The most significant scheduled 71st Avenue closures include:
• North of 17th Street — starting April 9.
• South of 20th Street — starting May 1 or sooner if construction allows.
• A single-lane, shifting-traffic closure between 20th and 16th streets — starting August 1 or sooner if construction allows.
The City’s general contractor, HEI Civil, hopes to accelerate the preliminary schedule. Consideration is being given to combining construction phases so all work may begin by May 1.
During these closures, residents and businesses in the affected areas will have local access to the road. During construction, 20th Street crossing 71st Avenue will stay open to east-and-west-bound traffic, except for a short closure to work on a new sewer line beneath the intersection.
Dave Wells, Greeley Public Works civil engineer, said the big closures will last most of the summer and are scheduled to wrap up in early August. Ideally, that means the full closures will wrap up and the road will open before school starts this fall. Some delays will continue into the fall with construction.
With the nearby grocery store, schools and the continued expansion of residential development in west Greeley, officials expect 71st Avenue will continue to see growing traffic volume during the next few years. That makes now a crucial time for this road expansion project in order to accommodate a growing number of vehicles on the road and to keep drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians safe, happy and moving efficiently and smoothly toward their destinations.
Originally a county road, 71st Avenue has begun to deteriorate with age and Sheep Draw Bridge — although still safe for use — is one of Greeley’s lowest-rated bridges. The 71st Avenue expansion project will replace an aging road and bridge and greatly improve the quality of an important Greeley roadway.
Project is primarily funded out of the Keep Greeley Moving (0.65% sales tax) and the Arterial Street Fund. The Arterial Street fund receives fees collected on building permits for new structures and their impact on the transportation system
• Completion of this project is phased over three years (2017 – 2019) to allow for design and right of way acquisition in the first year and the Sheep Draw bridge replacement and roadway construction the second year. Installation of landscaping will be completed by 2019.
• The project will widen 71st Avenue to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane with raised and landscaped medians where possible.
• Project will add curb and gutter and 8-foot attached/detached sidewalks along with 7-foot bike lanes to both the east and west sides of 71st Avenue.