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Highway 86 runs through the town of Elizabeth and residents say it's creating safety hazards

Highway 86 in Elizabeth causing headaches
Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-24 21:16:09-05

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ELIZABETH, Colo. — Some Elizabeth residents say a recently completed Colorado Department of Transportation project that restripped State Highway 86 has taken away parking and made the busy highway unsafe.

Like many towns across Colorado, Elizabeth has been no stranger to growth.

Bridget Littlejohn was raised in the Elbert County town and has owned a salon for more than a decade. She said Hwy 86 used to be a two-lane road, and now the addition of a center turn lane has taken away street parking in front of businesses in town.

"Because they took away the street parking, they are forcing so many more people to cross the street," Littlejohn said.

Jim and Cheryl Powell said the highway always had problems, but after the latest changes, it has only created more headaches.

"It was easy parking for us, now it's not," Cheryl Powell explained. "We have to park here in this parking lot."

She said when it is dark out, visibility is poor, and the curbs are not easily accessible to people in walkers or wheelchairs.

In a statement, CDOT said they are addressing safety concerns from residents:

"CDOT is working with the community to address concerns on pedestrian safety. We have reviewed the crossing and believe it to be safe but are making additional safety improvements. We installed pedestrian crossing signs at the crosswalks. There is another project that is being planned to improve curb ramps. Safety is our utmost priority, and we will continue to work with the town to make this area as safe as possible for vehicular traffic and pedestrians alike."

CDOT did not give a specific timeline of when the improvements would be completed.

Town officials plan to provide residents a presentation on the project Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the town hall.