By Jamie Leary
DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – Commuters and businesses frustrated with the construction mess along Brighton Boulevard should pack their patience. Another phase of construction between 38th and 44th avenues is set to begin Friday.
Denver’s River North (RiNo) area has long been an industrial hub. It’s only in the last few years that the landscape has seen significant changes. Apartments, restaurants and breweries are attracting more people than ever … and a lot more traffic in general.
To accommodate for the growth, Denver Public Works began a massive project in October of 2016 slated to last into 2018. The latest phase will close Brighton northbound from 38th to 44th to install new storm sewer lines to improve drainage along the corridor. The closure is set to start this Friday and go through until early next year.
Detours will be in place for northbound passenger and commercial vehicles. Southbound Brighton will remain open along the stretch while work is underway, providing access to businesses.
Unfortunately, with all the construction, area businesses are losing customers and the latest slated closure between 38th and 44th is another cause for concern.
“With the Rockies games starting now, we get no one over here. If there’s a Rockies game, it’s just dead because no one wants to travel Brighton Boulevard,” said Sean Smith, an employee at Mondo Market in The Source.
While Denver Public works acknowledges the process is frustrating for drivers and businesses, spokeswoman Heather Burke says the end result is worth it.
“While it’s really frustrating now, people are going to be really happy. I mean these are areas that have really old storm drains and no sidewalks so it really is going to be great when it’s all said and done.”
Burke went over several features drivers will start to see over the next year:
• New, continuous sidewalks
• Raised, protected bike lanes, also known as cycle tracks
• New and upgraded signalized intersections
• Bike detection added to three intersections
• New landscaping, light fixtures and benches
• Additional on-street parking
• Utility and drainage improvements
“This is a large-scale project to help establish Brighton as a major thoroughfare in Denver, so it may take a little while before bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers start noticing improvements, but we’re making great progress down the corridor already. Improvements along Brighton from 29th to 40th streets are expected to be completed in 2018,” said Burke.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015. She is currently the morning show reporter, which means she is always on the go, covering a wide variety of breaking local news and important local events. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.