CDOT Continues Traffic Signal Safety Improvements on US 160/US 550 Through Durango

November 9, 2011 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Note to motorists: the signals will be properly timed when the project is completed; CDOT thanks you for your patience and cooperation in the meantime.

DURANGO – The Colorado Department of Transportation has an ongoing traffic signal improvement project, which is scheduled to end on Friday, November 18, on US 550/US 160 through the city limits. The project adds left-turn arrows at all intersections on US 160/US 550 through Durango, starting at US 160 and SH 172 and progressing north along Main Avenue (US 550) to  Animas View Drive.

Work to date: from November 9 through November 18, the contractor will be installing new pavement markings and completing the traffic signal equipment installations. At this time, most intersections have the new signal heads except for Dominguez Dr., 9th St, College Dr. and 32nd St. Most of the work at these intersections will be performed at night. Curb and gutter improvements combined with curb ramp upgrades have been completed at College Drive. Altering the median island at Dominguez Drive on the east side (at New Country Auto) has been completed. The new lane configuration will consist of one left-turn lane and one through lane on the east side of Dominguez Drive. This will allow for simultaneous left turns, eliminating the current split phase of the signal, thereby shortening the overall signal timing length (less time waiting for a green light). It was necessary to move the east side left-turn lane to prevent overlapping of the two turn lanes from the west.

The project will install “left-turn only,” or “protected” left-turn arrows at the intersections, which will be in use during peak daytime hours. During periods of lower traffic volumes, the arrows at these intersections will indicate “permissive” left turns via flashing yellow arrows. Motorists will experience the following:

PROTECTED LEFT TURNS: A solid green arrow indicates a “protected left turn,” meaning motorists can turn left while oncoming traffic is stopped. Then, that arrow goes to a solid yellow, as the protected left-turn time is running out, then to a solid red arrow, indicating that no left turns are permitted.

PERMISSIVE LEFT TURNS: During off-peak hours (which will vary with time of week and time of year) motorists will encounter a flashing yellow arrow, indicating the motorist is permitted to turn left when it is safe to do so (through traffic will have the right of way). Then the arrow will turn to a solid red arrow, indicating the motorist may NOT turn left.

“Because the left-turn flashing arrows operate with different controls, the signal timing system through town will be operating manually in a protected left turn sequence only until all of the signals are converted,” CDOT Project Engineer David Pickren said. “Until the project is complete, the signal timing system will not perform as well as it had been. We are asking motorists to please be patient during this transition period.”

After the signal work is complete, CDOT will implement an updated signal timing plan that will improve the traffic flow along the US 160/US 550 corridor.

Crews will work mostly at night, starting at 6 p.m. and finishing by midnight (exception will be some daytime side-street striping and installation of signal equipment at lower traffic volume intersections). Approximately 70% of the work has been completed. The project should be completed with final signal timing being in place by November 18th baring any major weather impacts.

TRAFFIC IMPACTS and work details at specific intersections:

  • NIGHT WORK: Crews will continue operations to the north at each intersection, with majority of the work being performed at night after 6 p.m., to minimize impacts to motorists and businesses. Motorists can expect single-lane closures and minor delays at affected intersections, though intersections will remain open and operational. A minimum of one through in each direction shall remain open at all times.
  • DAY WORK: Some daytime, weekday work will include pavement markings on side streets, due to cold temperatures in November. Motorists can also expect some short-term left-turn lane closures on US 160/US 550 at minor intersections.
  • 32nd STREET: The westbound inside lane (from City Market) will be for left-turn movements only; the outside lane will be restriped for through/left/right-turn movements.
  • Phasing: The signal timing (phasing) will be completed on Sundays, in order to minimize any impact to the traveling public. It is anticipated the new timing software will be installed by November 14th.

The project, contracted to Technology Constructors for $587,100.

For the latest project updates, call 970-317-1701.

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