Boulder City Council eyes land needed for 30th-Colorado underpasses
“University of Colorado junior Sam Wasserman crosses the intersection of 30th Street and Colorado Avenue on his bicycle while heading to class on Tuesday.
University of Colorado junior Sam Wasserman crosses the intersection of 30th Street and Colorado Avenue on his bicycle while heading to class on Tuesday. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)
City Council on Tuesday approved first reading of a motion to purchase or acquire through eminent domain the property needed for the planned underpass project at 30th Street and Colorado Avenue.
Approval was part of a unanimous vote on the consent agenda, and a second reading is scheduled for March 5.
The project, which now has a $12.5 million price tag, is aimed at making the busy intersection more accessible and safer, particularly for the more than 2,100 pedestrians and bicyclists who traverse it on a typical day. The project initially included one diagonal underpass for pedestrians and bicyclists but now calls for two — one underneath 30th and a second underneath Colorado — to accommodate more people.
Although city staff does not anticipate construction harming property values, operations or quality of life in the area, they cautioned that the project has a strict timeline to keep its federal funding, and eminent domain might be a necessary last resort to keep the project on track.
More than a third of the project’s money comes from federal funds approved by the Denver Regional Council of Governments and administered by the Colorado Department of Transportation. That $4.75 million requires final authorization by CDOT to advertise for construction bids by the beginning of July, according to a staff memo to council.
Staff would not initiate eminent domain action until spring, if it became necessary, according to the memo. Staff noted that in past projects, some property owners have not consented, which has led to project delays and “potentially inequitable impacts” to those owners.
In this project, the city will need to acquire property and easements of varying sizes from eight properties. Staff have been working with property owners and anticipate cooperation, according to the memo.
“Property owners are generally in support of the project and expressed interest in working with the city to implement the project improvements,” staff wrote of the underpass project.”
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Niedringhaus, Cassa. Daily Camera 19 February 2019.