County takes another step closer to Brush Creek

A big impact…

By Mark Reaman

The Gunnison County commissioners this week took a couple of actions to move the concept of a Brush Creek Road roundabout and pedestrian underpass at the intersection with Highway 135 closer to reality. 

The commissioners on Tuesday, April 18 gave the official okay for county manager Matthew Birnie to purchase a piece of property in the location that will be used for infrastructure purposes, and they entered into an agreement with a Denver company to start designing the intersection. The hope is for the major highway realignment to come in conjunction with the proposed 231-unit Whetstone affordable housing project.

The .4-acre piece of property just south of the current Brush Creek Road is being purchased from Dennis Rozman for $132,000. The deal is slated to close next week, although Birnie said that might get pushed back. The commissioners agreed to a subdivision exemption that will allow that parcel to be used for the future road improvements.

The commissioners also gave the thumbs up to sign a professional services agreement with planning and design firm Mead & Hunt to start the design and engineer work for the future intersection. The design will include the proposed roundabout, the pedestrian underpass, transit stops and trail alignments. Mead & Hunt was one of four companies to submit a bid for the project and, according to assistant county manager for public works Martin Schmidt, they came in with the lowest price of $367,084 for what is termed the “Brush Creek Intersection 50% Plan” design contract.

The firm said it has been involved with the “successful completion of dozens of similar roundabout designs,” many of them in rural Colorado. Mead & Hunt was previously selected by Gunnison County to conduct a traffic study and concept design for a roundabout at this intersection. At the 50% design level, the company will prepare preliminary construction plans of the selected alternative complete with roadway configuration, grading and utilities. As part of the plan, they will provide an estimated cost of the project as well as prepare and conduct two public meetings. In a preliminary schedule provided to the county, those public meetings are slated for early October of 2023 and February of 2024. A final document would be presented to the county around March 5, 2024.

The commissioners supported the concept and timeline. “The overarching goal is to slow down traffic and enhance multimodal traffic,” noted commissioner Laura Puckett Daniels. “It will be a big impact to that area, and we need to be clear about that but overall it will be a neighborhood benefit and provide for a safer intersection.”

“This step starts fleshing out the plan and what the improvements will look like,” added commissioner Jonathan Houck.

The commissioners approved all the Brush Creek items unanimously.

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