COLORADO SPRINGS — The construction season is beginning with a new era of funding for the projects.
In November 2019, voters approved a five-year extension of the 2C sales tax, decreasing the rate from 0.62% to 0.57% over that time.
“While we’ve come a long way, there’s more work to be done, especially in our neighborhoods,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.
Around half of the projects, this summer will be on neighborhood streets. Main thoroughfares like Stenson Hills, Dublin, Voyager, and others will be addressed as well.
On larger roads, crews can cover more ground because the semi-trucks carrying the asphalt and the equipment that paves it to the groundwork quickly in straight shots, but “when we get into these neighborhoods, and we start dealing with turns and bends and cul de sacs, it slows down operations tremendously,” said Corey Farkas, the Operations and Maintenance Manager for Colorado Springs.
There’s also the added hurdle of coordinating with people in their homes. The city will send out mailer notices to the homes, hoping to give at least a three-day notice when crews are coming to their street.
“We’ve got to allow people to get in their homes all day, every day,” Frakas explained.
Over the last five years, the city has paved between 170-240 lane miles each summer. Because of the complications in neighborhoods, the city estimates 182.5 lane miles this summer.
“Secondary benefits of 2C: We now not only increased our paving, but now the dollars that we would have used for pre-overlay and paving are now going further for preventative maintenance,” Farkas said.
Still, the program has increased Colorado Springs’ capacity to repave roads by ten times. In the year before 2C projects began, 20 lane miles were paved.
It has totaled over 1,000 lane miles repaved, but over that time, city streets have increased from 5,800 lane miles to around 6,300.
“We’ve got to maintain this pace. If we went back to the funding we had prior to 2C, this would be a really bad situation,” said Suthers.