Fort Collins works to improve traffic flow and safety

David Becker

Bike box at the intersection of eastbound Laurel Street and College Avenue.
A bike box was added at the intersection of eastbound Laurel Street and College Avenue. (Photo credit: David Becker)

Seasonal roadwork brings several major construction projects to Fort Collins. Projects include asphalt repaving on Taft Hill, additional right turn lanes on Horsetooth Road at Timberline Road and a protected bike lane on Laurel Street.

To feature traffic management processes, software tools and equipment, the City of Fort Collins Traffic Operations hosted a tour of their headquarters Wednesday. The capabilities and limitations of traffic control system technologies, such as traffic cameras, were explained and demonstrated.

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The event allowed citizens a look at traffic operations from inside the traffic control room. Current construction projects were used as examples of how traffic operations capture and analyze traffic data in order to determine the most efficient traffic light patterns, applicable road improvements and cost-effective project implementation.

“Operations are more complicated in the summer months because we are trying to put of bunch of (construction projects) into a condensed timeframe,” said Joe Olsen, Fort Collins Traffic engineer. “(The tour) helps people understand if they have a chance to come in and see it.”

The Laurel Street Pilot Project was one of the current roadworks discussed. The project features Fort Collins’ first protected bike lane. Car parking along Laurel Street was removed to make way for a bike lane. The lane is separated from traffic by a series of flexible delineators that comprise a physical barrier between car and bicycle traffic. The project features new lane markings, including a bike box on the eastbound section of Laurel Street at College Avenue.

Laurel Pilot Project between Mason Street and College Avenue
The Laurel Pilot Project is between Mason Street and College Avenue. (Photo credit: David Becker)

“We are really interested in promoting low-stress bike routes,” said Nick Heimann of FC Bikes. “We want people to feel like they have options so they don’t have to bike down major arterials or big, heavy-volume streets like College.”

Construction at the intersection of Horsetooth Road and Timberline Road is expected to continue through mid-August. Right turn lanes will be added to both the eastern and western legs of Horsetooth at the intersection. Horsetooth Road will be closed in both directions for approximately two weeks near the end of June, with the eastbound Horsetooth expected to be closed until mid-August.

“Allowing a full closure for two weeks on Horsetooth Road will help us maximize construction during the summer months when Fort Collins High School is out,” said Dan Woodward, a civic engineer for the City of Fort Collins. “We hope to have the new and improved intersection completed by mid-October.”

Asphalt repaving on Taft Hill Road, between West Elizabeth Street and Drake Road, is expected to continue through the month of June. Taft Hill will be closed one direction at a time to allow residential and business access. Project updates and additional information are available through the City of Fort Collins’ Street Maintenance Program.

Collegian Reporter David Becker can be reached at new@collegian.com or on Twitter @mrbeckersir.