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Street Sense

Streets from Voyager Parkway to South Academy have already seen new asphalt overlays.

Streets from Voyager Parkway to South Academy have already seen new asphalt overlays.

Wondering where and when the next cone zone will appear? Thanks to voter-approved 2016 ballot issue 2C, chances of encountering orange-rimmed lanes – or a temporary road closure – remain high.  That is, until the first snowstorm shuts down street paving crews, says City Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division Manager Corey Farkas.  “Everyone enjoyed seeing snow on Pikes Peak last August – that’s everyone but Travis (referring to Travis Easton, the city’s Director of Public Works) and me,” he says.  

Private contractors, hired by the city began work last May. Since then, crews have paved more than 220 lane miles and poured more than 177,000 tons of asphalt. 

That progress, however, comes at a cost. Local residents faced with road work delays have learned to zig-zag across town to get to their destinations. In his September “State of the City” address, Mayor John Suthers asked the community to remain patient. “2C is a pay as you go effort and each summer for at least five years you’re going to see lots of cone zones,” he said, adding that the city was working to fix a problem that was a long time in the making. 

A robust Public Works database of 7,000+ residential, collector and arterial streets – almost 5,700 paved miles – tracks every road’s status. Streets are rated on a scale of zero to 10. Those ranked lowest (0 to 3) are in the worst shape and require a full reconstruction. The next level – 3 through 7 – is more stable but roads require an asphalt overlay. Streets ranked 8 or 9 are usually newer and qualify for a chip-and-seal coat. Finally, a limited number of “10s” require simple monitoring.

Weather-ravaged collector streets like Galley Road or arterials like Voyager Parkway from Academy to Interquest topped the road maintenance list in 2016. Residential streets are usually a lower priority. And older Westside or Central parts of town can expect the greatest number of cone zones. 

Smart street maintenance is all about developing a plan. “It’s not just about throwing darts at a map,” Farkas says, adding that the city works with stakeholders like Colorado Springs Utilities, PPRTA and others to address underground issues before streets are repaved. 

And occasionally, there are surprises. 

“When we cut through asphalt to find what’s causing a problem, we’ll frequently find water – underground springs. It’s in our name: Colorado Springs,” Farkas says.

Residents can find when and where street work is underway by checking the city’s Planned Pavement Resurfacing map at www.coloradosprings.gov.