After years of in-fighting, more than $500,000 in taxpayer money, and thousands of hours in meetings, preparing studies and taking photographs, the Colorado Springs City Council has shelved the proposal to connect Constitution Avenue to I-25.
The council Monday ignored its staff’s recommendation to extend Constitution Avenue to I-25 to create improved traffic flows along east-west corridors in the city. The council spent over five hours viewing slide shows and listening to city experts before deciding to shelve the project, which would have removed about 8,000 vehicles daily from the highly congested Fillmore Street.
The Constitution Avenue-I-25 argument is part of a larger study called the East-West Mobility Study, which looks at ways to get residents from the rapidly growing east side downtown and to the Interstate. The council backed other elements of the study, which projects 20 years into the future.
Councilwoman Margaret Radford opposed the Constitution plan and said the council should quit wasting time looking at that portion of the mobility study. Citizen groups that participated in the study could not agree on the proposed extension.
But city traffic planners backed the extension, as did some council members.
“This isn’t over,” said Councilwoman Judy Noyes. Other supporters of the extension are members Lionel Rivera and Mayor Marylou Makepeace.
Councilman Jim Null, while not backing the extension plan now, said he would consider revisiting it in the future.
Among items in the study the city supports are improving the city bus system and extending Powers Boulevard on both ends to the interstate.
Additionally, three other east-west roads will be widened to six lanes. They are: Woodman Road, Austin Bluffs Parkway, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bypass.
It is not likely citizens will see any improvement in traffic for years. The plan covers the next two decades, and most of the proposed improvements are not likely to be completed before 2015, officials said.