NewsState of Growth


City leaders discuss long-term Powers Blvd. improvements; some question lack of priority

Plans call for more grade-separated interchanges
City leaders discuss long term Powers Blvd. improvements; some question lack of priority
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jan 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 11:25:06-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — As major projects--like Amazon’s new fulfillment center--get closer to bringing thousands of more cars and trucks to our streets, it has Colorado Springs officials wondering… are our roads adequately prepared for this?

The traffic that Amazon and the rest of the Peak Innovation Park could bring to Powers Boulevard took center stage at a recent city council work session.

“I think it’s no secret that development activity has been very strong,” Colorado Springs director of planning and community development Peter Wysocki said. “We are seeing a number of projects. Redevelopment projects, new projects.”

The biggest of those comes in the form of Peak Innovation Park at the Colorado Springs Airport.

This year, a massive Amazon fulfillment center will open up, employing more than a thousand people. No doubt bringing lots of traffic along with it.

“Infrastructure of course is being planned and developed in a coordinated effort with CDOT, City Traffic and El Paso County Traffic,” Colorado Springs Airport operations manager Troy Stover said.

In the coming months, new traffic lights will come online along Powers where it intersects with Grinnell Blvd. and Peak Innovation Pkwy. south of the airport.

“The improvements that we are making are gonna fulfill those intersections out until 2045,” Stover said.”

At that time, the city says it might be time to turn to CDOT and talk about converting those intersections, as well as the intersection at Powers and Milton E. Proby Pkwy., into grade-separated interchanges.

But if you head north on Powers, there are bigger sights set.

“CDOT has roughly $500 million in planned improvements on the Powers corridor,” Colorado Springs director of public works Travis Easton said.

Those plans call for six intersections to be converted to grade separated interchanges.

CDOT will start on one of those conversions this summer at Powers and Research Pkwy. thanks to stimulus funds.

The other five intersections on the list are those at Powers and Dublin, Stetson Hills, Barnes, Airport and Fountain. None of those projects currently have funds.

“Just to give you a sense where things are at in the next decade or so for priorities for CDOT on the corridor,” Easton said.

But CDOT officials tell News 5 they want to make it very clear--their 10 year plan does not include making Powers a freeway. A CDOT spokesperson said there are plenty of projects on tap for this decade, but these Powers improvements are not one of them as of now, and there is no funding available.

As News 5 has previously reported, CDOT's main source of funding is becoming a declining revenue model.

All of this has some city leaders wondering... are we doing all we can to prepare for the growth, before it comes?

“What is the outcome of not funding intersections as we head forward,” Colorado Springs city council member Bill Murray said. “Again I see the problem with putting the cart before the horse and us running into a capital project bind.”