As Spring arrives, traffic cones will soon bloom

Montrose Urban Renewal Construction site

Winter is fading in the rear view mirror, so  “Cone Zone Season” is right around the corner. But any given corner  might be blocked by detour signs, road crews, heavy equipment,  traffic jams, and of course, thousands of orange traffic cones which often pop up precisely where you wish they were not.

Hot asphalt fumes will grow thick, and drivers’ patience will wear thin.

Many of us will kick ourselves for not paying attention to the road closure warnings flooding TV, radio, newspapers, and websites.

Don’t blame Montrose’s City Engineer, Scott Murphy. He’s worked hard to get the message to the public, including a recent appearance at The Forum.

Murphy informed the audience that the City intends to do $15 million worth of capital construction and street maintenance projects this year. You can expect to find crews working on many utility projects, the GOCO Connect Initiative trail project, the second year of Montrose’s MoveMO street maintenance effort, construction of a roundabout at Hillcrest and Miami, more work for the Montrose Urban Renewal Authority, etc.

MoveMo is an abbreviation for Moving Montrose Forward, the city’s public infrastructure improvement plan which was launched last year. (You’ll find details online at “This includes expansion of our transportation network, maintenance of existing roadways, and improvements/maintenance of water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer utilities,” according to the website, which includes a full list of Current Capital Projects:

GOCO Connect Initiative Trail Project

Miami-Hillcrest Roundabout Project

6800 Waterline Replacement Project

Cerro Reservoir Outlet Works Replacement

Riverwood Water Distribution System

Lift Station Elimination Gravity Sewer Line

The City plans to make it easier to drive in and out of Riverbottom Park. “Riverbottom Drive–we’ve all been on that,” Murphy said ruefully. “ We all know how ‘fun’ it is to try to get out of there after an event.” That line drew a collective chuckle from the crowd. But, there is serious money involved. Murphy revealed that the State of Colorado has chipped in. “We teamed up (with Montrose County, and went after DOLA (Dept. of Local Affairs) money. We got half a million dollars from them. Everything looks to be a ‘go’, so we’ll probably start in September.” They hope to finish much of it by spring of 2020. The project will include five blocks of formal, on-street parking on both sides of the drive. There will be a pedestrian crosswalk, a flashing traffic light, and a realigned intersection with a dedicated right turn lane, to increase safety.

Montrose’s primary waterway is going to get a make-over, too. A short stretch of the Uncompahgre River, near Mayflower Outdoors, will be cleaned up, stabilized, and returned to its natural course; the river. Murphy explained that the river channel in that area has deviated about 400 feet over the past 50 years, due to debris and poor land use practices. He said that the Colorado Water Conservation Authority has awarded a $400,000 grant to Montrose to help pay for the restoration and improve the river’s aquatic habitat. And, the City will lend $1.1 million to the Montrose Urban Renewal Authority, which will oversee the project. Construction is scheduled to begin in November, and end next February. The ultimate goal is to turn this portion of the Uncompahgre into a gold-medal fishery.

The city will spend $2.3  million on street maintenance in 2019 to take care of aging roadways, bridges, and pothole problems. You’ll see a variety of these projects all over Montrose. “We’re going to spread the love around,” in Murphy’s words.

Well, you may not love the sights, smells, and inconvenience involved, but you just might be thrilled by the results.


About the author

Dave Segal

Dave Segal

Dave Segal, a Detroit native, has been a journalist since 1977. He has worked as a reporter, commentator, and news director at radio stations in Detroit, Denver, and Montrose.

Dave has been writing and editing for the Monitor since its first print issue in 2003. He is editor and senior writer for the digital magazine. On the side, Dave has also done freelance writing, media relations, and a variety of volunteer work.