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Endless summer construction: Two major projects causing headaches in South Jeffco

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By AJ Vicens

South Jeffco commuters are no strangers to road construction, as several major projects have snarled traffic in recent weeks.

A project designed to make the intersection of Ken Caryl Avenue and Continental Divide Road safer meant closing Ken Caryl between Kipling and Simms for a time. It has reopened, but the next few weeks will bring lane closures in alternating directions.

The westbound lanes of Ken Caryl from Kipling to Simms were to be closed for three weeks starting July 7.

“There’s going to be closures that continue,” said Larry Benshoof, director of Jeffco’s Road and Bridge Department. “At least until the middle or end of September, when that job is set to be completed.”

The $550,000 project is aimed at lowering Ken Caryl as it intersects with Continental Divide Road. It was difficult to see oncoming traffic when turning from that road, and Tim Carl, Jeffco’s director of highways and transportation, cited a fatal crash at the intersection last year as a reason why the work had to be done.

Another project that has been giving South Jeffco drivers headaches is the repaving of West Bowles Avenue from Wadsworth to Kipling. This $1.2 million project will last several more weeks, Benshoof said.

These are the two major projects in the area, but South Jeffco residents can expect to see road crews doing minor repairs to neighborhood streets throughout the summer.

Carl and Benshoof said these projects are inconvenient but necessary.    

“Our desire and focus is to minimize the impact to local citizens who have to use these roads,” Carl said.

“It’s a good thing, but it does have an impact because we’re on arterials — especially Bowles and Ken Caryl,” Benshoof said. “We’re trying to have as little an impact as possible. We received very few complaints, and I think our traffic control and setup has been reasonable.”

Benshoof said that advance warnings in the form of message boards placed around the area are designed

to let people know of upcoming projects.

“The biggest problem is when people don’t know,” Benshoof said.

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.