County, State and Federal Partnership Make Oxford Intersection Improvements Possible

April 7, 2014 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Thirty collisions and one fatality in 10-year period at this intersection.

LA PLATA COUNTY, CO – Work is progressing well on the project to improve safety at the SH 172 intersection in Oxford. La Plata County is managing the project at county roads 311 and 513, which began in mid-February. This project is expected to extend through November of 2014 and will reconstruct the intersection by adding acceleration and deceleration lanes on SH 172, realigning County Road 311 with County Road 513 (see attached map, courtesy of La Plata County GIS) and improving drainage and irrigation.

The cost of the work, contracted to Elam Construction, is $3.2 million:  $600,000 is coming from an Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program grant from the State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA),   $349,000 from La Plata County, $225,100 from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and $2,025,900 from federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds, which CDOT administers. The goal of the program is to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads, including non-state-owned public roads and roads on tribal lands.

“We knew something had to be done to improve the safety at this intersection, where County Road 311 comes in at an acute angle and does not line up with 513,” said La Plata County Public Works Director Jim Davis. “We initially applied for the DOLA funds for the design and partial funding for construction and were encouraged by CDOT to apply for additional construction funding from the HSIP; we were able to make up the difference to get this work done.”

According to CDOT traffic data, this intersection has seen 30 collisions over a 10-year period from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2013. Nineteen of the collisions involved property damage only (damage to the vehicle); 10 involved injuries and one involved a fatality (1 fatality), from a sideswipe at the intersection. Of the 30 collisions, three were rollovers, three broadside, nine rear-end, five sideswipe and 10 various other types. Twenty occurred during daylight hours and 28 occurred during dry roadway conditions. Finally, 14 of the 30 were specifically intersection related.

The project will improve safety at this intersection by increasing sight distance for drivers entering or crossing SH 172 from the county roads; it will also reduce the risk of rear-end accidents on SH 172 by providing turn lanes.

TRAVEL IMPACTS: Through April, while crews work on drainage and irrigation, motorists can expect single-lane, alternating traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. Beyond April, lane closures on SH 172 will not start until 9 a.m. Delays of up to 15 minutes should be anticipated; however, every attempt will be made to minimize traffic delays. SUMMERY SEASON SCHEDULE CHANGE: During the high-traffic summer season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, lane closures on SH 172 will be limited to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day, though there could be lane closures beyond 4 p.m. on the county roads. Motorists are encouraged to allow a little extra travel time and to drive with caution through the work zone for their own safety and the safety of the work crews.

CDOT PROJECT INFORMATION: The best way to stay up-to-date on project progress, traffic impacts and more is to sign up for email and wireless (text) alerts, click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page.