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Updating progress of Marksheffel Road widening project in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A much-needed road project that many residents believe is long overdue, is taking shape on the city's northeastern border.

Workers are nine months into a three-year widening of Marksheffel Road, from North Carefree Circle to Dublin Boulevard; the first phase focuses on the 1.2-mile stretch between North Carfree and Tamlin Road, just north of the Barnes Road intersection.

The project began last summer with relocating underground utility lines; a box culvert is being built just north of Carefree that will allow drivers to travel over a flood-prone area that often slowed or stopped traffic on Marksheffel.

"They're going to hit a major milestone next week when they're going to complete the water line installation and the deck bank installation," said Gayle Sturdivant, the city's deputy public works director. "Once that's done, the utility providers can go in there and do their cabling, and our construction contract is going to be focusing on the ultimate configuration of the Barnes intersection."

She said that the intersection is a key component of the project.

"They're focusing on reconstructing the future northbound lanes, and when they get that, they'll be shifting traffic over to that, so they can build the southbound lanes," Sturdivant explained. "But one of the things they need to do is really focus on that Barnes intersection, because that intersection gets lowered quite a bit from where it's currently located today."

Workers also are widening Barnes a few blocks west of Marksheffel.

Sturdivant said that the first phase will continue through the end of the year, and workers will spend 2025 and 2026 on widening the remaining 1.7 miles to Dublin, and widen Dublin just under a mile west to Peterson Road.

When completed, the affected stretch of Marksheffel will have two lanes in each direction -- with a center median, better drainage, an new sidewalk on the west side and a shared-use path on the east side.

Other project benefits include building a box culvert just north of the Carefree intersection that will allow drivers to travel over a low-lying area probe to flooding; and upgrading entrances into a subdivision at Graphite and Zircon drives.

The Marksheffel widening became a high transportation priority because of the explosive growth of people and homes in and around the large Banning Lewis Ranch subdivision at the north end of the project; many people believe the road should have been widened well before the growth began.

Retail businesses are already lining up for spaces along the corridor; at Marksheffel and Barnes where a 7 Eleven currently operates, a Starbucks is applying for a building permit and a McDonald's is reportedly on the way.

"With the way homes are still being built out here, they probably should have expanded it to three lanes," said neighbor Chris Lambert. "And there's only going to be more traffic by the time this is finished. But I'm just glad they're finally working on it."

Lambert also asked why the city didn't require developers in the area to build roads when the home construction boom started after the 2008 recession; Studivant said the road was in El Paso County's jurisdiction before the city acquired it several years ago, and developers will be responsible for building roads for communities east of Marksheffel in the future.

The project's estimated cost is between $50 million and $60 million, financed by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority sales tax.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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