A depiction of the Downtown Estes Loop project dated 2/3/22 that was presented to trusteesduring a recent study session of the Town Board of Estes Park.
During a special town board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17, board members approved a resolution that contributes an additional $1 million in funding in order to supplement construction costs for the long-planned Downtown Estes Loop Project.
The loop project, which was initiated in 2013 by the submission of a grant application to the Federal Land Access Program (FLAP), was created to combat congestion issues in downtown Estes. The final product will convert downtown streets, including Elkhorn Avenue, Moraine Avenue, and East/West Riverside Drives, into a one-way loop.
The need for this additional funding for this project is the result of the lowest contractor bid for the project coming in at $11.3 million over the planned town budget.
Director of Public Works Greg Muhonen led the presentation of this resolution to the board, stating that an additional $1 million contributed from the town leverages a matched $1 million from the Colorado Department of Transportation(CDOT) and $9.3 million from Federal Highway Administration(FHWA) – effectively closing that overbid gap.
With this additional funding now approved, the total town contribution for the loop project funding sits at $5.71 million, which is leveraged by $34.71 million from FHWA and $1.58 million from CDOT – making for a total of $42 million budgeted.
As Muhonen explained, it is also important to note that of this $5.7 million from the town, $4.2 million came from CDOT in a 2014 devolution agreement in which the town took over maintenance of West Elkhorn Avenue.
The total of this funding not only goes toward the construction of the loop but also allows for needed downtown infrastructure improvements. This includes things like roadway resurfacing, bridge and channel fixtures, and now traffic signals in order to make a safer environment for pedestrians.
Speaking on concerns that this long-term project would lead to disruption for downtown residents, Muhonen provided an explanation as to why the end goal is worth the disturbance.
“You can’t own and operate infrastructure without having to take care of it from time to time, and when you do maintenance work, it is disruptive,” Muhonen said. It comes with the territory of owning and operating infrastructure. That was the case for the river walk, which is now seen as a benefit to the town. In my opinion, the disruption was worth the positive outcome, and it is my belief that this project would deliver that type of benefit.”
With this funding now in place, the planned traffic solution that this project is expected to bring will take effect once the construction is completed.
Construction of the loop is set to begin in the early months of 2023, with a two-year planned completion time.