US 160/550 Durango Project: Complete

R5 US160-550 Bike LaneCyclists ride their bikes on the newly treated concrete surface and within the newly designated bike lanes, which extend throughout the US 160/550 business corridor of Durango.

CDOT has completed the US Highway 160/550 Concrete Surface Rehabilitation project through the city of Durango. The project took place between Tech Center Drive on US 160 west and Animas View Drive on US 550 on north Main. CDOT officials say the work performed on the concrete surface of the road should add another 15 to 20 years of life to the 27-year-old concrete pavement.

"The cost of this $6 million project was well worth it. It served as a rehabilitation of the concrete pavement versus full reconstruction. This alternative provides a long-term savings to taxpayers with reduced construction impact to travelers and businesses," said David Valentinelli, CDOT resident engineer.

"The concrete pavement was constructed in 1991 with an expected life of 30 years, which means that in the near future we might have been faced with the decision of completely reconstructing the highway. Reconstruction would have been far more costly ($40 to $60 million when compared to other concrete paving projects in the region), with multiple seasons of construction, as well as more significant impacts through Durango's business district."

Project Details & Benefits

CDOT says the project used specialized equipment, which removed the top layer of the concrete surface. The process achieved several overall benefits, which ultimately enhances the safety of this busy highway for all users―motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

These benefits include:

  • prolonged life of the current concrete pavement.
  • replacement and repair of damaged concrete pavement sections.
  • restored skid resistance and vehicle/tire stoppage.
  • improved roadway smoothness and lifespan.
  • installation of new pavement markings, which include the addition of bike lanes.

While this concrete surface rehabilitation technique is unique and new to Durango and our region, the approach is a normal life cycle maintenance and restoration process that is performed on concrete pavements across the state and country. CDOT's Southwest Colorado region will likely see more of this construction method on the aging concrete pavements in the Southwest. US 160 through Cortez, built 23 years ago, will likely need rehabilitation before that concrete highway reaches the end of its expected life span.

"The grinding process highlighted existing depressions and surface irregularities in the pavement's surface, caused by 25-plus years of traffic wearing," explained Valentinelli. "Since those irregularities were unable to be ground to the same extent as the majority of the pavement surface, it has caused a shading contrast. But we want to assure the traveling public the surface now has a smoother profile as well as a higher skid resistance. The surface color will gradually weather to a more consistent appearance."

The surface of US 160/550 was measured before and after the grinding treatment. An approximate 60 percent increase in smoothness has been achieved.

"We had hoped the grinding process would have removed 100 percent of the old markings, but to do that would have required multiple grinding passes over the entire roadway, and would have greatly increased the cost of the project. Despite the fact that some ghost striping will still be visible due to the depth that the old inlaid stripes were inset, the ghost lines have been minimized, and the roadway has been enhanced with the newly applied high-contrast inlaid striping," Valentinelli concluded.

"In the end, the project has been a succes, and we have achieved the rehabilitation we were striving for to ensure the roadway lasts longer. We have a safer and smoother pavement with more clearly defined striping that now accommodates a bike lane from US160/US 550 to 38th Street."

ADA Ramps

Just as the project was getting started earlier this spring, CDOT and the City of Durango also found the opportunity to partner and add the construction of new accessible sidewalk ramps at several intersections on the north end of town. The Americans with Disabilities Act- (ADA) compliant sidewalk ramps were added at key intersections along north Main Avenue:

  • 21st St.: All four corners
  • 26th St.: Northwest (NW) corner only
  • 29th St.: SW, SE and NE corners only
  • 30th St.: NW, SW, SE corners only
  • 31st St.: All four corners

The majority of the funding for the ADA ramp work was made available through a $200,000 Federal Highway Administration TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) grant and the City of Durango's match of $89,000. Both the city and CDOT benefited from the cost sharing of some overhead services.

This ADA ramp work at the five intersections is the first project to result from the continued partnership between the city and CDOT to construct additional ADA ramps at more intersections along north Main Avenue. The partnership began two years ago as a collaborative effort to complete preliminary design tasks.

CDOT is currently working on design of the second construction project, which will install additional ramps on north Main Avenue.

Acme Concrete Paving of Spokane, Wash., was awarded the $6.3 million concrete rehabilitation project, which was started in early March 2017.