Breckenridge will postpone work to a planned roundabout until next season, due to a lack of bids. The town has been working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to improve the juncture at Park Avenue and 4 O’ Clock road since CDOT determined the intersection needed a traffic direction signal.
“We know that’s a linchpin in the flow of traffic through our community,” Breckenridge communications director Kim Dykstra said. “We really have studied that intersection and felt a roundabout was the right thing to do.”
According to the Federal Highway Administration, roundabouts can reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent, and pedestrian crashes by 30 to 40 percent. In addition, while roundabouts slow traffic, they also increase traffic capacity by 30 to 50 percent over four-way intersections.
With Breckenridge taking over as the project lead, the cost will be split between the Colorado Department of Transportation and the town. CDOT will cover the cost of a traffic signal, and Breckenridge will cover the remainder.
The town has also spent significant time and effort in negotiations with the surrounding landowners to acquire the rights of way in the surrounding land needed to create space for a roundabout.
“The roundabout is going to take up more space than is currently there,” Dykstra said. “It has been a lengthy and difficult negotiation with the landowners there.”
After acquiring the rights of way, the town advertised for construction bids in April but only received one bid that was significantly higher than the projected budget and did not meet CDOT and town contracting process. Unable to award the project, the town will put the project back up for bid this fall, with a goal of starting construction in early 2017.
“Our intention is to get started on that as soon as possible in the spring,” Dykstra said. “The town for a number of years has put money into capital improvement, so we can make a roundabout.”
On Tuesday, Breckenridge Town Council voted to convey the rights-of-way parcels to CDOT, a necessary step in the project since Park Avenue is a state highway.
“This is ready to go as far as CDOT is concerned,” Breckenridge town engineer Tom Daugherty said. “They ‘ve signed off on it, they like the design; it’s ready to go.”
There was some discussion of packaging multiple projects together in time for the fall. Councilwoman Erin Gigliello suggested bringing a set of roundabouts forward to attract more bidders, with about four or five intersections on Park Avenue identified as potential locations.
However, Daugherty noted there are some strings attached with the federal funding, leaving any changes to the project prone to unknowns.
“We’re looking at April of next year to break ground,” Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula said. “I don’t think we can slow this one down for another year.”