Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

DPW gets traffic moving — one way

by Mark Hunsicker

Directorate of Public Works Engineering Division structural engineer

The Directorate of Public Works is planning a major traffic improvement project on Fort Carson, targeting the heavy traffic around the main post cantonment area. The project, which is scheduled for Oct. 8-11, converts the two main north-south arterials, Specker and Wetzel Avenues, into a one-way pair of streets. Specker Avenue will become one-way northbound, and Wetzel Avenue one-way southbound.

This one-way pair of streets, once completed, will be similar in operation to the one-way pair of Barkeley and Magrath avenues along the “Banana Belt.”

The new one-way-street project extends the four-lane section of Specker Avenue that stretches from Titus Boulevard to Gate 20. Specker Avenue will have two uninterrupted northbound lanes from Gate 20 north through the cantonment area to where it ends at Wetzel Avenue at Barger Street. Wetzel Avenue will have two uninterrupted southbound lanes from Barger Street south to where it meets the four lane section of Specker Avenue.

Specker and Wetzel Avenues are ideally suited for the one-way street conversion since they intersect each other and provide for a free-flow corridor from the north to south end of the post.

One-way streets help alleviate congestion by eliminating opposing left turns on a main thoroughfare. Making left turns across traffic lanes creates conflicting movements, slowing traffic in all directions. Also, both Specker and Wetzel avenues will have two lanes of traffic in the same direction, accommodating increased traffic volume.

Another benefit of the one-way street project is the additional space for the streets to have a new dedicated bike lane, complete with striping and signage, similar to the bike lanes along Barkeley Avenue and Magrath Avenue.

The project intent is also to alleviate congestion at the intersection of Specker Avenue and Titus Boulevard even though it’s outside the area of the one-way conversion. As Specker Avenue will have two continuous northbound lanes, the merge from two lanes to one just north of the signalized intersection will eliminate the queuing of traffic back into the intersection.

The phases of the one-way conversion project are in progress. New signals are installed at the intersections of Specker Avenue and Ellis Street and Specker Avenue and Nelson Boulevard in preparation for the one way traffic.

Several construction projects are required to accommodate the one-way conversion effort. The south intersection of Specker and Wetzel Avenues will be realigned so that the two southbound lanes of Wetzel Avenue connect seamlessly into the four-lane section of Specker Avenue at the signalized intersection with Titus Boulevard. In order to expedite the actual conversion process and time frame, some work will be done beforehand. The signs required for the one-way traffic will be installed and covered prior to the conversion. The existing two-way traffic striping will be removed and replaced with temporary striping.

Large flashing message signs will be stationed along Specker and Wetzel avenues to notify drivers of the pending conversion.

The final step of the conversion process will take place Columbus Day weekend, when traffic is at a minimum, to reduce disruptions. The changeover will require temporary “rolling” roadway closures. The “rolling” closures will be limited to sections just several blocks long, as workers put up and remove signs and change pavement markings. The “rolling” closures will move sequentially along the one-way streets to eliminate closing the roads entirely for the sign work.

For more information, call the DPW Engineering Division at 526-2847.

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