Owl Canyon Corridor improvements underway to smooth ride from I-25 to U.S. 287

The link between U.S. 287 and Interstate 25 in Larimer County is about to get easier and safer as the Owl Canyon Corridor Project progresses this summer. Long-awaited realignment and improvements to road surfaces, function and safety began in April and will be completed by the end of October. The changes are part of the Owl Canyon Corridor Project adopted and unanimously approved by Larimer County Commissioners in 2008 following considerable public input.

Increased traffic on existing county roads and the need for a safe and efficient east-west link between the two major roadways, U.S. 287 and I-25, were the impetus for the $15 million project which will be completed over time as funds are available. The project also addresses maintenance, function and air-quality concerns.

Currently the eastern portion of the corridor is paved and the western portion is part gravel and part chip seal. Eventually the corridor will become a completely paved two-lane road with shoulders to accommodate bicycles.

Six years ago, the project was controversial because it had been suggested as a “truck bypass” to reduce truck traffic through Fort Collins, but that is no longer a goal. Larimer County project manager Joe Temple explained that current work on the corridor is not related to establishing a bypass for truck traffic.

Phase one, now underway, includes reviewing safety concerns, and adding spot improvements such as a guardrail on County Road 72 (Owl Canyon Road) and guardrails at two narrow bridges on County Road 70.

Phase two, starting this month with a price tag of $4 million, will create a new alignment beginning at the intersection of the north end of CR 19 (Taft Hill Road) and CR 70. A roundabout to increase safety, reduce noise, slow traffic and facilitate turns will be installed and the roadway will be re-routed through the center of the Weaver Ranch before it ties back in to County Road 19 roadway. The change will remove the road close to the Weaver ranch house and has been approved by the owners.

The newly aligned road will intersect Owl Canyon Road. County Road 21 will be vacated and replaced by the extended County Road 19, avoiding a turn in the route.

According to Temple, road closures are not likely to cause long delays or inconvenience and notification will occur on an on-going basis as work proceeds.

For more information contact Temple at Jtemple@larimer.org or 970-498-5717.

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