June 7, 2019
US 34 Coalition PEL Study
Without discussion, the City Council approved a resolution approving the Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study for US 34 from Larimer County Road 27 to Weld County Road 53. The study was completed in January 2019 after more than a year of work. Its purpose is to preserve US 34 as a vital east-west transportation corridor. “The improvements outlined in the study will help link people, goods and services and sustain the operation of US 34 far into the future while providing the guidance and flexibility to adapt to future demands and funding opportunities,” wrote Public Works Director Joel Hemesath in a staff memo.
Anyone who travels US 34, especially between Loveland and Greeley, knows that congestion is increasing. According to data presented in the study, the segments in Loveland and between Johnstown and Greeley are extremely “unreliable” during rush hour traffic in the morning and the evening.
The study notes that “in general, the intensity of commercial activity along US 34 is likely to continue to increase given forecasts for population and employment growth in the Study Area and given the fact that future land uses envisioned for the corridor are primarily commercial and employment-based uses.” Specifically, the study says the US 34 corridor “east of the (I-25/US 34) interchange is slated for the greatest change, with commercial and commercial mixed-use slated just east of the interchange and in the area between Johnstown and Greeley. Land uses east of the interchange area tend to be commercial with some industrial and residential. In Greeley, commercial is anticipated at major intersection nodes interspersed with residential uses.”
The study lists too many recommendations to list them in entirety here. However, it should be noted that expanding US 34 from four to six lanes from Denver Avenue in Loveland to WCR 17 and multiple interchange redesigns are included. Implementing all the improvements in the “Recommended Alternative” will cost at least $26 million. No funding has been allocated for US 34 but now that the PEL is complete, improvements can be made as money becomes available.