Denver, Colorado – In the small town of Hudson near Denver, CO, where I-76 intersects with CO 52, the reality of a new type of farming compelled the need to make a change. With the growth of wind turbine manufacturing and the steady development of wind farms throughout Colorado, the Town of Hudson realized it needed to remove a bottleneck to create an easier route for turbine blades to be transported. Ulteig’s transportation team was called upon collaborate with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and other partners to provide the construction management of this major intersection to improve traffic flow and enhance traffic safety.
“What we really did with this project was facilitate the movement of wind turbine blades that are manufactured just west of the interstate,” said Bob Smith, PE, Manager of Construction Services at Ulteig’s Denver office. “To accommodate for the larger freight loads, CDOT and their designers decided to implement larger roundabouts so that traffic can flow more easily, and these extra-long loads can pass through. They really set us up for success with their great planning, design and public interaction efforts.”
The $11.7 million project, as reported by CDOT, was supported with matching funds from the federal government and began construction in May 2020. Construction was completed in Fall 2021.
A primary feature of the project was the construction of two oversized roundabouts, which were about two times the size of ordinary roundabouts.
“Roundabouts are becoming increasingly popular, even in rural areas such as Hudson,” said Smith. “You get the benefits of keeping traffic moving without encountering the rear-end accidents that can happen at traffic signals. Plus, roundabouts necessitate less maintenance than traffic lights in the long term. It takes a strong design, a lot of signage and the right team to find success, and we absolutely had all of that on this project.”
Other components of the project included:
- Expanding CO 52 to four lanes from two lanes at I-76
- Realigning four ramps to accommodate the new roundabouts
- Upgrading one traffic signal light
- Widening a bridge located over the interstate, which included new bike path
- Adding a sidewalk along the north side of CO 52 to increase pedestrian and bicycle connectivity
Besides the obstacle of maintaining smooth and timely construction progress in the middle of a pandemic, the other big challenge was maintaining traffic flow on I-76. The freeway is a significant East-West transportation route that many heavy-duty truck drivers rely upon to transport goods across the country.
“To maintain safe and undisturbed traffic flow, we enacted many temporary traffic movements, as well as extra temporary widening so we could build the new structure without stopping traffic,” said Smith. “It was absolutely the biggest challenge in construction, but nevertheless something that was a large priority for us.”
While Ulteig collaborated with CDOT and other partners to oversee construction management for the project, Castle Rock Construction of Colorado LLC handled the project’s construction. The renovations impacted approximately a one-mile area. All ramps and roadways for the project were built using concrete from a plant that was built on-site. Concrete was used, as opposed to asphalt, to ensure the longevity and durability of the new roadway.
Read the full story on our Knowledge Center: Making Room for a Growing Wind Industry.