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Major road project underway


Last updated 6/14/2021 at 3:20pm | View PDF

Kourtney McCoy

Officials from state and local agencies, including Fountain City Engineer Brandy Williams (center) and Council Member Sharon Thompson, broke ground on the MAMSIP project June 2 in Fountain.

State, local and military officials gathered in Fountain last Wednesday for a ceremonial groundbreaking on the large-scale road project designed to improve access and commuter safety around area military installations.

The Military Access, Mobility & Safety Improvement Project (MAMSIP) includes improvements to South Academy Boulevard, the I-25 corridor along Fort Carson, and Highway 94 connecting Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases and central Colorado Springs.

Here in Fountain, a noticeable project will be the improvement of Charter Oak Ranch Road, from the intersection of Santa Fe Avenue and I-25 to Gate 19 at Fort Carson. Officials say this gate is highly underutilized due to the poor conditions, including crumbling pavement, poor drainage, steep grade, narrow lanes and no facilities for cyclists or pedestrians. They hope the improvements will lead to some funneling of traffic from Gate 20 – which often creates backups on Mesa Ridge Parkway – to Gate 19, which is about 4 miles to the south.

"The reconstruction and safety improvements of Charter Oak Ranch Road will tie directly into our project inside Gate 19," said Joe Wyka, Fort Carson director of public works. "It provides our soldiers and Fort Carson commuters better access, improved safety, and relieves congestion during peak hours."

Charter Oak Ranch Road project is coming up next on the agenda, so residents should begin seeing work there in the near future.

"These projects will be great improvements both to our quality of life and our readiness," Wyka added. "We look forward to the day when they are complete and serving our great communities here along the Front Range."

Another MAMSIP component beginning soon is a 7.5-mile segment of the I-25 corridor from South Academy Boulevard to the Santa Fe Avenue exit at Fountain, which exits to Fort Carson's Gate 19. These improvements include:

Replacement of two bridges crossing over South Academy Boulevard. The bridges are located at mile post 135 and cross over South Academy Boulevard. Built in 1971, the paired bridges have spans of approximately 150 feet, accommodate more than 65,000 vehicles each day, and are at the end of their design lives.

Widening of both inside and outside shoulders to 12 feet and installing safety improvements.

Concrete surface treatment overlay to provide an improved riding surface for this 7.5‐mile segment.

Installation of median barriers the entire length of this corridor.

Maintenance work on four bridges along the corridor.

Installation of deceleration lane at the interchange with CO 16/Mesa Ridge Parkway.

Officials hope the I-25 corridor work will significantly improve safety through reduction in accidents, injuries and fatalities.

"The 7.5-mile corridor of I-25 has experienced significant safety incidents over the past decades, including 18 fatalities over the past five years," said Rich Zamora, CDOT regional transportation director. "Many of these fatal accidents have been the result of head-on collisions as a result of cross-over accidents."

Karin Hill

The poor condition of Charter Oak Ranch Road near Fort Carson's Gate 19 is pictured on June 4.

Initial work on other MAMSIP components began last year after the announcement of the federal BUILD Grant to the tune of $18.35 million, but formal approvals have now paved the way for the official start of construction. Altogether, the MAMSIP work is expected to cost about $159 million, funded through the BUILD Grant and contributions from CDOT, El Paso County, and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. 

Officials noted the collaborative spirit required for this undertaking. In fact, there were so many representatives of different agencies in attendance at Wednesday's groundbreaking they had to take several turns performing the ceremonial shoveling of dirt for photos.

"I'm so thrilled to see these projects moving forward," said El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf, who recalled his own prior experiences being a service member living and commuting in this area. "They are much needed improvements."

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