Tom from Denver writes, “Jayson, what’s driving me crazy is the closure of eastbound 14th Avenue at Colorado Boulevard. It seems like it’s been closed for six months! This is a major west to east thoroughfare and having it closed this long is getting on my nerves. How much longer is it expected to be closed?”
14th Avenue has been closed all this time, Tom, to accommodate Denver’s Jackson Street storm drain project. The city says the new drainage system, “will provide a critical link between the lower and upper Montclair Basin system for managing stormwater and offer improved flood protection for residents and businesses in the project area between Colfax and 12th Avenues, from Jackson to Albion Streets."
The Montclair Drainage Basin covers over nine square miles and has a long history of significant, persistent flooding problems. During heavy rain, water would run into numerous homes and businesses causing minor to significant damage. Those problems led the city to make improvements to the drainage in the area a priority. The expanded and improved Jackson Street storm drain system will ultimately provide additional capacity for storm runoff that flows northwest to the South Platte River.
The work that has 14th Avenue closed, as well as several other roads around that part of National Jewish Hospital, is part of phase 1. That part of the project began January 2020 on the north side of Jackson Street across E. Colfax Avenue. It continued through the parking lot at National Jewish, then went eastward one-half block on 14th Avenue toward Harrison Street. Originally, this part of the project was scheduled to be done in early spring. Now, the last of this work is expected to continue through the end of May or early June. COVID-19 issues and the large March snowstorms delayed the project a bit. Project engineers say this schedule could still change based on weather and other factors.
In addition to installation of the new stormwater pipe, you may have noticed increased construction activity and traffic restrictions in the area. The city is also doing work on multiple, critical public works projects simultaneously, including lead service line replacement as part of Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program.
There will be future design and construction for phase 2, which will connect on the east side of Colorado Boulevard at about Albion Street near Hale Parkway.