Pueblo receives grant funding for traffic light, roundabouts
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Pueblo receives grant funding for traffic light, roundabouts

Mar 10, 2023

The city of Pueblo last week received a notice from the Colorado Department of Transportation that it was granted awards for three road safety projects.

One of those projects is to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Mirror Avenue and Pueblo Boulevard, where more than a dozen car accidents have occurred over the past five years. Five of those crashes led to a driver being injured, 10 led to property damage and one contributed to a death, according to crash data from the city.

At least seven of those crashes happened because of a broadside collision, when the front of a vehicle collides with the side of another. Those types of crashes can result in severe injury.

"(That intersection) is a high-speed area and one of those places where there's room for improvement," said Andrew Hayes, Pueblo director of public works.

That traffic signal project has a cost estimate of $900,000, reached through a city match of $30,000 and $870,000 in federal and state funds, which would be available to the city in 2025, Hayes said. The project would start and finish that same year.

The other two projects the city received funding for would also start in 2025 and include building roundabouts at Lake and Jones avenues, and at West 13th Street and North Grand Avenue. Those projects are estimated to cost $1.5 million and $1.65 million, respectively, and the budget structure for them is similar to how the funding is allocated for the traffic light.

Those intersections were earmarked for roundabouts because of their crash frequency. At 13th and Grand, there have been 29 crashes over the past five years, 18 of which were broadside collisions. Two of those accidents resulted in deaths.

At Lake and Jones during that same timeframe, there were 24 crashes, eight of which were broadsides.

More:Roundabout projects seek to curb traffic wrecks in Pueblo

"When we have these high concentrations of accidents, particularly certain types like broadsides, roundabouts can reduce the incidents of broadsides and severity of crashes," Hayes said. "It's also efficient in terms of the way they handle traffic."

A separate side-effect of a roundabout can be "traffic calming," or speed reduction from drivers, because of the pace required to travel through them safely, Hayes said.

The city plans to build four other roundabouts around Pueblo, including one at the intersection of Eagleridge Boulevard and Dillion Drive that is expected to start construction at some point this year.

The city in previous years normally would send just one application per annual cycle seeking grant awards from CDOT's Highway Safety Improvement Program for a road safety project. The program is competitive and often has a relatively small budget, making it "unusual" to get funding for more than one initiative, Hayes said.

This year, however, the city decided to "go for it," he said, and sent four applications to that program, choosing from several road projects that were listed as a priority for improvements.

Hayes said the public works department had a "gut feel" that the city would receive funding for more than one because of the investment toward infrastructure the United States had pledged in recent years, particularly for roads and bridges.

That gut feeling proved true when the city earlier this month received the award notice from CDOT.

"We’ve got an excellent grant writer (Luann Martinez) who's been able to help us be competitive in finding grant opportunities and putting together competitive applications," Hayes said. "Secondarily, we’ve got plenty of work that needs to be done in the city. The combination of that with the availability of funds, being able to put a compelling application together is an important part of the success we’ve been having."

Chieftain reporter Josue Perez can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @josuepwrites.