Colorado State University is currently designing a new pedestrian and bike-oriented underpass south of campus. Facilities Management plans to start the project in November, with a completion goal of July 2016.
The new $6.1 million underpass will be similar to the one on the west side of campus at College Avenue which connects the UCA to main campus, but on a much larger scale.
Tony Flores, the Facilities Management project manager for the underpass, said he wants to make the path wide enough to comfortably fit pedestrians and bicyclists.
“We’re trying to make it — and we’re still in design, so this isn’t a hard number, but — 18 feet wide to be able to separate the bikes and pedestrians while going under the tunnel there,” Flores said.
In comparison, the College Avenue underpass is 10 feet wide. Building another underpass has been a long-standing goal for the University, according to Fred Haberecht, assistant director of Facilities Management.
“This is something that we’ve been talking about for at least five years,” Haberecht said. “And then there have been discussions about other underpasses on campus for over 15 years.”
The underpass is designed to connect south campus to main campus. With the new parking lot off of Research Drive and the new Horticulture Center directly south of Aggie Village, many students are using this route on their way to class.
Adam Wright, a senior horticulture major, said he is disappointed he will graduate before the project is complete.
“(If) it can alleviate pedestrians going across the road, that will be fantastic,” Wright said. “Now, they won’t have to have people crossing the street, holding up more traffic.”
Horticulture majors will not be the only students affected by the new route to campus — the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is also located south of campus.
“It would be beneficial, but I don’t think it’s a necessity — $6.5 million could definitely be put to something more useful,” said Sarah McGinnis, a freshman veterinary student. “A pretty selective group of students will use this, I would say.”
Flores said he is expecting various road closures throughout the construction timeline. There will also be some night closures for contractors to do utility work that will occur in the middle of Prospect Road.
“There (are) going to be more of lane closures then full road closures,” Flores said. “Center will be closed towards the end, because at Center on the south side of Prospect, we’re going to repave all of that all the way to Bay Road.”
The underpass is also a safety precaution because hundreds of students enter campus at the intersection of Prospect Road and Center Avenue every day. Facilities Management is working on providing a pathway for students to cross Prospect Road quickly and safely.
Collegian Construction Beat Reporter Veronica Baas can be reached online at email@example.com or on Twitter @vcbaas.