January 25, 2019
Highway 34 Expansion
On January 15, without discussion, the City Council appropriated funding to add a third lane in each direction to Eisenhower Avenue/U.S. 34 from Denver Avenue to Rocky Mountain Avenue. The project will be financed using both city and federal dollars.
An additional westbound lane will be constructed first, from Boyd Lake Avenue to Denver Avenue and the eastbound lane for the same stretch of road will be added afterward. Both sections are anticipated to be finished this year.
Jeff Bailey with the City’s Public Works Department says Loveland doesn’t currently have the $3.5 Million to add lanes between Boyd Lake Road and Rocky Mountain Avenue. He said it is possible the City will be able to stretch the existing funding to complete a portion, if not all, of the additional westbound through lane from Rocky Mountain to Boyd Lake Ave. Bailey explained, “We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to build the complete lane, but much of this will depend on receiving a favorable winning bid for the construction. Regardless of how much we can build, we are still anticipating that work to also be complete by year’s end.”
The City is pursuing more grant funding for the project. Bailey added that the grant funds would likely not be available until July of 2021, so, if fully funded at that time, construction could commence in spring of 2022.
On the brighter side, the additional eastbound through lane will be mostly along the frontage of prime developable land. If those properties develop in the interim, Bailey said they will be responsible for constructing the additional roadway width along their frontage, to be reimbursed for the oversizing by the City at a later date. So, development along the roadway could greatly help accelerate the completion of the project.
Broadband Bonding Approved
The City Council took its next step towards launching its new broadband internet utility by approving the issuance of revenue bonds to cover the cost of capital equipment, and construction of the system. The bond issue will also provide resources to hire broadband utility operation staff, marketing personnel, and technology systems to support the Enterprise.
$2.5 million was advanced by the Power Utility Enterprise, and the design of the system is underway. $97 million of bonds should be available in late February or early March, provided that the process stays on schedule. The Council approved the ordinance to issue the bonds with only Mayor Jackie Marsh opposed. She has continually stated that the project funding should be the subject of a public vote and that is the reason for her opposition to the ordinance.
402 Plan Update
In 2012, the Loveland City Council identified Highway 402 as a roadway in need of a corridor plan given its location as the southernmost I-25 interchange in within the Loveland Growth Management Area (GMA) and potential for future development. Before the study was undertaken the City needed to amend its Intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Johnstown. An expanded IGA boundary was later approved in 2017. On January 22 the City Council received a status report on the project, which began in 2018.
To date, the following tasks have been completed or are underway: existing conditions analysis, stakeholder committee visioning sessions, design charrette and public open house, market analysis and preliminary concept planning. Most of the corridor is in unincorporated Larimer County and consists of single-family homes, agriculture and undeveloped open space.
According to a public survey, a majority of the respondents said the most important improvement is to add travel lanes, widen the roadway to alleviate congestion and improve safety. Respondents are also concerned about losing open space and want to develop the corridor in a way to preserve it while still creating economic opportunities.
The consultants recommend the establishment of design standards with an emphasis on mixed-use developments. Underground utilities would facilitate future commercial and residential development. They also suggest the floodplain on the north side of the highway west of County Road 9 for open space, trails and recreational uses. The Big Thompson River, coupled with open space, could create a desirable recreational amenity.
Employment centers could be located on each end of the corridor. The Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology is an ideal location for mixed-use redevelopment (employment and multi-family residential). The City owns 98 acres at the southwest corner of 402 and I-25, which could be a gateway location to attract employers. The northeast corner of 402 and County Road 9, as well as the southeast corn of 402 and Highway 287, would be good locations for neighborhood commercial and higher density residential development.