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The need for a traffic signal is based traffic volume thresholds outlined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Installing a traffic signal before the volume thresholds are met can have unintended consequences including increased crashes or increased vehicle delay.
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The existing connection between the end of Sapphire Pointe Blvd and Mesa Drive is meant for emergency access only. Converting that to a public roadway connection would add additional traffic on Mesa Drive which that the roadway was not designed to carry. Given that Mesa Drive is a two lane rural roadway with residential driveways on it, this is not an ideal route for regional traffic to / from Interstate-25.
There is a planned roadway that would connect Crowfoot Valley Road to Hess Road through the Canyons Development in Castle Pines. This development is located to the north and west of Crowfoot Valley Road. That roadway is slated to be constructed by the developer of that property but the timing of the full connection from Crowfoot Valley Road to Hess Road is currently unknown.
Crowfoot Valley Road is planned to be widened to a four lane cross section from Founders Parkway to the Town limit just north of Sapphire Pointe Boulevard. This widening project is currently part of the Town’s 5-year Capital Improvement Program plan and is slated to occur in 2024. The need for the widening improvements was originally identified within the Town’s Transportation Master Plan.
Updated Jan. 13, 2022
The widening of Crowfoot would also include bike lines along the full length of the project. In addition to that, there is planned to be a regional trail connection running from southeast to northwest through the area that will cross Crowfoot Valley Road somewhere between Diamond Ridge and Sapphire Pointe.
The Town’s Master Plan traffic forecasts use the Denver Regional Council of Governments regional forecasting model in the projection of traffic. This traffic forecasting model takes planned developments into account that have been provided to DRCOG by each local agency. Given that, the majority, if not all of the planned development along Crowfoot Valley Road has been taken into account in the Town’s Master Plan. In addition to this, the Town was very conservative in the land use assumptions within the Town’s limit in the Master Plan study and assumed full build out of the Town by 2040. Based on both of these factors, the 37,000 vehicles per day is expected to be a good estimate for future traffic on Crowfoot Valley Road.
Posted speed limits on a given roadway are set based on engineering studies and / or roadway design criteria. A speed study was done on Crowfoot Valley Road a few years ago. The speed limit within Town limits was reduced to 40 mph in the summer of 2021. The current posted speeds on the roadway today are supported by the data collected during that speed study.
The Town’s design criteria will be used for the widening project. The lighting for the roadway will be based on what is needed for a four lane arterial. The light fixtures are designed to minimize the unwanted scattering of light but instead, focus the light where it is needed on the roadway. There are not currently plans identified to specifically address noise levels.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is responsible for the timing of the traffic signals on Founders Parkway. The red arrow was put in several years ago due to a higher than expected number of T-bone type collisions. In addition, it is not uncommon for a double left turn movement to have red arrows for the left turn during all times of the day. CDOT is currently running the signal so it is more responsive (i.e., shorter wait times) during lower volume times. The Town’s Traffic Engineering staff will continue to closely coordinate with CDOT on the operation of the signals along the corridor.
Initial design layouts for a roundabout at Sapphire Pointe Boulevard show that minimal additional right-of-way would be needed. However, there is space around the intersection to allow for the acquisition of right-of-way if needed. With regard to utilities, these would be identified during the design and, if needed, relocations coordinated with the given utility provider.
Feedback received from prior public outreach indicated roundabouts were not wanted. A signal will be added to the intersection of Sapphire Pointe and Crowfoot Valley Road.
Developments within the Town do pay impact fees per residential unit or commercial square foot constructed. These fees are collected up front and are used for the construction roadway widening projects. Developments outside of the Town do not contribute funds to the Town but typically have development agreement with the agency where they are located (i.e., Douglas County).
The Town currently has projects identified with the funds available for the construction of a roundabout at Sapphire Pointe and the widening of Crowfoot Valley Road to four lanes. The current funding available for the project is about $7.2 million. These funds are expected to be sufficient to complete the needed improvements for the corridor. In addition, Douglas County is currently planning to add the second through lane in the northbound direction. This is currently being designed by the County. A timeframe for construction has not been identified, but is anticipated to be soon after design completion.