On the southwest corner of Quincy Avenue and Gun Club Road, the partners who paved the way for a new intersection geared to ease traffic congestion gathered on a key piece of property that was once proposed to be a gas station.
That property now overlooks the new $12 million partial continuous flow intersection (PCFI), which is a modern traffic design geared to decrease congestion at this busy intersection. It features a new trail that includes a modern underpass connecting to the Arapahoe County trails east of Gun Club Road.
A partnership consisting of officials from Arapahoe County, City of Aurora and E-470 gathered earlier this week to celebrate the new intersection and the new trails managed by Arapahoe County Open Spaces.
The PCFI design was selected for its efficiency in reducing delays and travel times for busy intersections like this one. These intersections are primarily different in the turn lane crossover layouts.
The new left turn crossover lanes were constructed for both northbound and southbound Gun Club Road. Drivers enter the left turn lane approximately 1,000 feet before reaching the intersection. Separating the left turn lane reduces wait times and allows more drivers going straight and left to pass through the intersection during each green light. Similarly, right turn bypass lanes were added in all directions, allowing drivers to merge with flowing traffic without stopping at a light.
The project also includes new E-470 on and off ramps. All of the improvements are intended to carry much heavier traffic volumes through this entire area, which is close to E-470, Aurora Reservoir and the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds.
Arapahoe County Commissioner Jeff Baker remembers the headaches and frustration motorists encountered accessing the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and other large events in the area due to significant backups at the intersection. He cited an airshow a few years ago where the backups got so large that motorists parked on the side of the road to watch the event.
“That was one of the main reasons why this was done,” Baker said. “This is a big day for Arapahoe County.”
Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said the area had been such a “sore spot” for motorists who contacted the City of Aurora seeking improvements. “It’s a great day for the city of Aurora, Arapahoe County and the state of Colorado,” Coffman said. “The amount of collaboration has been incredible.”
When E-470 Executive Director Tim Stewart took on his role in 2016 he invited the public to a meeting to get feedback on the state of E-470. Stewart said he was very surprised that about 260 people showed up and they all wanted to talk about improving the Quincy/Gun Club intersection. “I said at the time we are going to establish a partnership and see if we can make this happen,” he said.
Arapahoe County Public Works and Development Director Bryan Weimer said the project planning started more than 10 years ago, when the Public Works department recognized the gas station proposal would hinder any improvements that could be made at the intersection. The staff recommended that the Board of County Commissioners purchase the property with the hope that funding for improvements could be secured in the future.
“To eat this elephant, we got the forks out,” Weimer said.
The necessary funding became available when Arapahoe County and the City of Aurora each contributed $4 million to the project. The remaining $4 million was provided by federal highway funds.
The project was bid out in 2019, and the first phase of construction started in the fall of that year. The final phase started this past April and the new configuration opened to motorists on the morning of June 22.
Overseeing and managing the construction were officials from Alfred Benesch & Company. “This project is the essence of good government,” said Bill Epp, Alfred Benesch & Company Colorado division manager.
SEMA Construction oversaw the construction, which featured 170 employees that put in 42,350 work hours and 20,496 equipment hours. The project also featured 18 subcontractors with field crews that totaled 145 workers. Crews moved more than 100,000 cubic yards of soil, placed more than 10,000 cubic yards of concrete and used 30,000 tons of asphalt.
In the few weeks since the new intersection opened to the public, construction officials said motorists have been adapting well to using the new left crossover turn lanes on south and northbound Gun Club to access Quincy. “Since we opened everything up out there, none of us have seen any backups, even during rush hour,” said Robert Burch, Benesch senior resident project manager. “I think this PCFI design will accommodate much more capacity in the future.”
Arapahoe County Transportation Division Manager James Katzer praisedthe County project team and in particular County Engineer Jon Williams for all the planning and work that was done. “As the division manager, I am very proud of the County team and project collaboration that resulted in a great project that will last for many years to come,” Katzer said.
Photo Caption (Left to right): Arapahoe County Commissioner Jeff Baker, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, Arapahoe County Commissioner Bill Holen and E-470 Executive Director Tim Stewart cut the ribbon to celebrate the new intersection at Quincy Avenue and Gun Club Road on July 7. (Photo courtesy of E-470)