Late this afternoon, Friday, Nov. 2, 71st Avenue will reopen to the public as Greeley’s major roadway expansion project nears early substantial completion.
In April, work began on 71st Avenue between 12th and 22nd streets. The southern portions of the project, starting at 22nd Street and working north toward 16th Street, opened to traffic in the last several months. Only the new 71st Avenue Bridge and parts of the road near it have remained closed these last few weeks. Although officials intended to open the bridge and northern portion of the road earlier in the project, issues with water lines, excavation, and relocation of non-city utilities added time to the bridge’s schedule. However, hard work and good weather will allow the project as a whole to reach substantial completion ahead of schedule.
Crews still have a lot of construction to do. Work will take place in the roadway next week and there will be minor lane closures from time to time — still allowing for two-way traffic. Some parts of the new sidewalk need to be finished and fences need to go up. Although some seeding will start this year, the majority of landscaping and irrigation work will take place in the spring.
The $8 million Keep Greeley Moving (KGM) project improved the old county road to modern city standards – specifically two-lane minor arterial standards. This project turned a mile-long stretch of 71st Avenue into a new, wider road with center and right-turn lanes, bike paths, detached sidewalks and more. As a part of the project, Greeley completely replaced the Sheep Draw Bridge south of 12th Street, allowing for the future expansion of Sheep Draw trail beneath it.
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 made this a crucial time for the 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.
Previously a county road, the old 71st Avenue had started to deteriorate with age and Sheep Draw Bridge was one of Greeley’s lowest-rated bridges. The 71st Avenue expansion project replaced an aging road and bridge and greatly improved the quality of an important Greeley roadway.
Keep Greeley Moving — a voter-approved seven-year 0.65 percent sales tax — provides funding to improve and repair Greeley roads. The Keep Greeley Moving program includes road expansion projects such as 71st Avenue; neighborhood road improvements; arterial and collector road repairs and improvements; and concrete and sidewalk repairs and improvements. The tax, and the KGM program, ends (sunsets) December 31, 2022.
To learn more about the 71st Avenue project, and to sign up for construction updates, go to keepgreeleymoving.com/home/71st-avenue-improvements/.
For more information, contact Dave Wells at 350-9796 or firstname.lastname@example.org.