Airport Road

Image shows project improvements at the Airport Road and CO 119 intersection

  • Eliminating left turns from Airport Road onto CO 119.
  • Converting Airport Road between northbound and southbound CO 119 to one way northbound.
  • Eliminating left turns from southbound CO 119 onto southbound Airport Road.
  • Adding a new southbound Airport Road bike lane with bicycle and pedestrian connections to the bikeway.
  • New bus queue bypass lane on southbound C0 119.
  • Design update following June 2022 community meeting: Access from Ogallala Road to northbound Airport Road maintained.

The intersections of CO 119 and Airport/Ogallala Roads compound corridor-wide safety and mobility issues and have specific safety challenges. After studying corridor safety and operations and evaluating a range of potential improvements, including adding a signal at northbound CO 119 and Airport/Ogallala Roads, CDOT, in coordination with local agency stakeholders, has determined that eliminating particular left turns and through movements from Airport Road and CO 119 most effectively advances the project goals of improving safety (reducing vehicular, bicyclist, and pedestrian crashes), traffic flow (reducing long backups of cars at intersections), transit travel times, and access to the corridor for different travel modes (driving, transit, biking, and walking). The Airport Road Fact Sheet shows the improvements supported by eliminating left turns.

A new signal would not sufficiently address all issues at this intersection. Installing a signal at northbound CO 119 and Airport Road would reduce sideswipe crashes for motorists turning from Airport and Ogallala Roads onto CO 119 and traveling from Ogallala Road onto northbound CO 119. However, a new signal would contribute to congestion on northbound CO 119 well ahead of the intersection, which often results in rear-end crashes. Eliminating left turns prevents both sideswipe and rear-end crashes, advancing the project goal of improving safety. Moreover, adding a signal would slow transit service for Longmont-bound buses. To enable fast and reliable BRT service, construction of a $3.3 million bus queue bypass lane would be necessary at this signalized intersection. Using left turn restrictions rather than adding a signal saves cost, facilitates efficient BRT service, and improves traffic flow for the numerous vehicles that travel on northbound and southbound CO 119 during peak hours each day. Lastly, Airport Road is a designated bike route serving numerous residential neighborhoods in Longmont. Eliminating the southbound travel lane on Airport Road frees up space for a new southbound Airport Road bike lane and pedestrian crossing enhancements. The Airport Road Intersections Alternative Memo further explains the decision-making process to eliminate left turns.

During the June 2022 Community Meeting comment period, comments were received about the proposed access changes at Airport/Ogallala Roads. In response, the CO 119 Safety and Mobility Improvements Project Team visited the corridor in August 2022 to observe current traffic conditions. Based upon community input and the results of this observation, the right-in/right-out access plan at Ogallala Road presented at the June 2022 Community Meeting has been changed. The through lane from Ogallala Road to northbound Airport Road will now be preserved. CDOT also plans to add new signage and extend the left turn lane on southbound CO 119 at 83rd Street to make this left turn movement safer.

The elimination of left turns will require motorists to use alternative routes to reach their destinations. Many nearby roadways are arterial streets with the capacity to safely accommodate the additional vehicles. The Airport Road Alternative Routes Map shows routes motorists can take after the left turn options are removed. Alternative routes include taking Pike Road or Clover Basin Drive to Fordham Street to reach CO 119, and some vehicles traveling southbound on Airport Road will choose to take CO 119 south and make a U-turn at 83rd Street. Making the U-turn at this location is safer than the current left turn onto northbound CO 119 because there are lower traffic volumes at this intersection. To improve safety at this intersection, CDOT plans to extend the left turn lane on southbound CO 119 at 83rd Street and install new signage.

The traffic analyses that informed this decision are based on traffic volumes projected for year 2045 that factor in population growth, land use, and development plans for the region. CDOT and RTD meet monthly with local agency partners who have a deep understanding of local conditions to review design plans, coordinate the projects on the corridor, and make decisions about the roadway’s improvements. Boulder County, the City of Boulder, the City of Longmont, Commuting Solutions, and the Federal Highway Administration reviewed and affirmed the decision to change access at CO 119 and Airport Road.