During last night’s city council meeting, Fort Collins city councilmembers focused on 15 different consent and discussion items, but Ordinance No. 047, 2018, which includes planned improvements to Prospect Road, was the most widely argued item of the night.
The decision to pass this motion means that $600,000 in funds will be appropriated into the Transportation Capital Expansion Fee Fund and the Transportation Fund into the Capital Project Fund for the East Prospect Road Improvements Project.
The appropriation of the $600,000 means the design process for the project can be initiated, and an additional one percent of appropriated funds, or $6,000, would go towards the Cultural Services and Facilities Fund for Art in Public Places.
An overall budget of $4 million is anticipated for this project by staff, and construction of these improvements are set to begin in 2020. The construction for this project and the Prospect Road Interchange improvements is anticipated to be completed by 2021.
Councilmembers, specifically Councilmember Ross Cunniff, debated with Fort Collins City Engineer Chad Crager over the timeline, budget processes and the specific details of the planned improvements to East Prospect Road.
“What we want to do is get in there with designs so we can coordinate with CDOT on that project with the intent to finish construction before or at the same time as CDOT finishes construction of the I-25 and Prospect Interchange,” Crager said.
In this project, East Prospect Road would be reconstructed as a four-lane roadway from Sharp Point Drive to Interstate 25 western frontage road.
Additionally, two travel lanes, bike lanes, pedestrian facilities, utility improvements and intersection improvements at Prospect Road and Summitview Drive and landscaped medians and parkways would all be newly constructed along East Prospect Road.
Councilmembers requested Crager delve into the planning process of the improvements, but Crager and the councilmembers had some misunderstandings along the way.
When Cunniff asked Crager to clarify specific planning dates and to explain why the project did not go through a prior budgeting process, Crager initially did not give Cunniff the answer he was looking for.
“Maybe I’m not asking clearly, let me ask it a different way,” Cunniff said. “When did we know that we wanted to enter into this partnership with CDOT and the other local governments?”
Crager said the general discussions were coordinated with the Colorado Department of Transportation last fall, and that CDOT signed a contract with its contractor this year. He also said he wanted to wait until the contract was finalized before planning these changes and improvements.
Several of the councilmembers ultimately seemed to be unfamiliar with the project, and they wanted to clear up these details before appropriating the funds for the project.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a conversation about East Prospect,” Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry said. “I’ve been involved in conversations about the interchange.”
After closely reviewing the specifics of the East Prospect Road Improvements Project, six out of the seven councilmembers who were present voted yes on passing the motion to transfer funds for the Prospect Road Improvements Project.
“I think the process could’ve been a little better in this case, however, I have driven on Prospect Road during rush hour, so I will be supporting this motion because I would like to see some movement on that,” Councilmember Kristin Stephens said.
Collegian news reporter Matt Bailey can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @mattnes1999.