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Author Topic: Powers Blvd mileposts  (Read 6100 times)

I94RoadRunner

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Powers Blvd mileposts
« on: March 31, 2016, 08:06:12 PM »

On a recent road trip to Colorado Springs, I noticed the mileposts and exit numbers for Powers Blvd are not matching what is planned for CO 21/Powers. The plans call for Powers to be extended first northward from CO 83 to a new freeway to freeway interchange with I-25 just south of the North Gate interchange. There is also a long term plan to extend Powers southward back to I-25 east of Fountain. With this corridor plan, one might expect that the planned southern I-25 junction would be milepost 0, however the US 24 east junction has a milepost/exit number of 141. Further north, Woodmen Road has milepost/exit number of 149. Anyone have any idea why the mileposts are numbered as such .....? The logical explanation is that maybe Powers will become a new alignment of US 85 .....? Or perhaps even a new I-25 routing .....?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 11:45:14 PM by andy3175 »
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Chris Kalina

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2016, 11:49:00 PM »

I can't say why CO 21 begins at Milepost 141. Matt Salek's excellent Colorado Highways page states the following (hopefully this is helpful):

http://www.mesalek.com/colo/r20-39.html

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SH 21 is Powers Blvd, the Colorado Springs east beltway. It starts on the northeast edge of Fountain, east of Widefield, at an intersection where Mesa Ridge Pkwy (SH 16) curves to the north and becomes Powers Blvd, with a leg of Mesa Ridge going east. Powers then goes north as a four-lane divided expressway, curving around the southwest corner of the Colorado Springs Airport. The intersection at Milton Proby Pkwy (formerly Drennan Rd) is the primary access into the airport. At Fountain Blvd, US 24 comes in from the west and runs with SH 21 north along Powers. At Platte Ave, US 24 exits at the partial cloverleaf interchange and heads east. North of Platte is Powers' busiest section and is a six-lane, arrow-straight, signal light-choked continuous commercial strip all the way to Dublin Blvd. The stretch also features several steep grades as Powers climbs over the rolling terrain.

At Woodmen Rd, Powers has another partial cloverleaf interchange, and begins curving to the northwest. North of Research Pkwy Powers is built to make its eventual "freeway-ization" easier, by having each direction of the road flare outward at the intersections along the ramp alignments, leaving the area in the middle for the future overpasses. Old Ranch Rd and SH 83 do this. This section also included a CDOT experiment, with one direction paved in asphalt and the other in concrete for comparison. The Union Blvd/Briargate Pkwy interchange has the two crossroads share ramps with one-way frontage roads between them. At SH 83/Interquest Pkwy, Powers dead-ends and SH 21 ends. SH 83 and SH 21 end at each other.

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SH 21 was created October 1, 2007, but it was summer 2008 before signage appeared. SH 21 was run over the entire length of Powers as it existed at the time. The take-over by CDOT of Powers began in 1999 when CDOT and the city agreed the swap would eventually take place, although back then the thought was Powers would become part of SH 83. Even before SH 21 existed, CDOT built the section of Powers from Research to SH 83 as part of its 28 high priority projects.

When CDOT took over Powers Blvd to form SH 21, it had ripple effects throughout El Paso County. CDOT turned back to local control numerous highways in the area to keep its mileage balanced. The highways turned back were: 1) All of BL I-25/Nevada Ave; 2) all of SH 29; 3) all of SH 38; 4) SH 83/Academy Blvd from SH 115 east and north to Powers; 5) Spur SH 83 at I-25 Exit 150; 6) US 85/Lake Ave from SH 115 to Venetucci Blvd; and 7) SH 105 from SH 83 to Jackson Creek Pkwy. Item #6 resulted in the renumbering of US 85/Nevada from Lake to I-25 as an extension of SH 115. Also, SH 16 was extended east along Mesa Ridge Pkwy.

In August 2012 the SH 21 interchange at Briargate Pkwy and Union Blvd opened. Previous to the opening through traffic went outward and down the future ramps and along the frontage roads. When the mainline overpasses opened it allowed through traffic to fly through the interchanges without going through the signals.
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r-dub

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 12:42:13 AM »

Matt and I talked about this a little while back on his blogsite, and his answer makes complete sense:

Quote

Semi off topic question, but any idea on what the SR21/Powers mileage signs are based on? Is it US 85 mileage assigned to this road after parts of it were turned back to Colo Sprgs?

Comment by tgarrett— August 31, 2014 #
Reply   

    I don’t think it’s 85 considering 21 never really even comes close to it, turnback or not. The mileage markers coincide really closely to I-25’s though. (Draw a line due west from a SH 21 milepost and you’ll be within feet of the same number on 25) Maybe a far-future plan of an I-425??

    Comment by Ryan— August 31, 2014 #
    Reply   

        I think they projected Powers down to a future interchange on I-25 south of Fountain and matched the I-25 milepost there. The routing isn’t known yet so makes sense for them to not have used 0 on it.

        Comment by Matt Salek— August 31, 2014 #

Comments on https://milepost61.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/powers-blvd-old-ranch-rd-interchange-bid/

(As an aside, that post was talking about the rebuild of the Powers/Old Ranch interchange. The contractors finished the project just a little over two months ago. Speedy, eh?  :-| )
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Ryan "r-dub"
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I94RoadRunner

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2016, 10:16:00 AM »

Sort of confirms what I was suspecting. Makes me think that if Powers gets an interstate designation, it may become a new alignment of I-25 and the existing I-25 may get the I-X25 number .....?
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Chris Kalina

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2016, 11:27:00 PM »

Sort of confirms what I was suspecting. Makes me think that if Powers gets an interstate designation, it may become a new alignment of I-25 and the existing I-25 may get the I-X25 number .....?

Good point. I guess we'll have to see how the upgrades proceed and whether there is a desire to place Powers onto the Interstate Highway System at some point in the future.
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The High Plains Traveler

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2016, 11:33:53 PM »

This may be contained in the discussion above, but I always thought that the CO-21 mileposts were intended to be continuous of I-25 mileposts at the projected northernmost or southernmost terminus of the route on I-25. Since the northern terminus is more well established, it makes sense that I-25 mileposts would be continued as you go south on CO-21 from the future interchange. I would note that if the Woodmen exit is Exit 149 on CO-21, it also is so on I-25.
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swbrotha100

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2016, 06:05:32 PM »

Does Colorado do what Arizona does (or used to do), with highways branching off each other and continuing the mileposts? A future I-x25 for this road may explain it.
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r-dub

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2016, 08:48:04 PM »

Quote
This may be contained in the discussion above, but I always thought that the CO-21 mileposts were intended to be continuous of I-25 mileposts at the projected northernmost or southernmost terminus of the route on I-25. Since the northern terminus is more well established, it makes sense that I-25 mileposts would be continued as you go south on CO-21 from the future interchange. I would note that if the Woodmen exit is Exit 149 on CO-21, it also is so on I-25

Quote
Does Colorado do what Arizona does (or used to do), with highways branching off each other and continuing the mileposts? A future I-x25 for this road may explain it.

Kinda going hand in hand here... Colorado does not do branch off mileposts. All marked highways start with MM 0. That's what makes Powers so odd. Yes, Woodmen is marked as 149A/B on Powers. If CDOT did decide to make mileposts continuous, this is a new way of doing things around here.

That being said, I am unaware of any other completely new state highways coming online since 21/Powers, so we have no reference if this is something new or an anomaly.
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Ryan "r-dub"
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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2018, 10:15:47 PM »

Just moved to COS.  I've heard Powers is eventually intended to be full freeway...but how would they accomplish that in the area between Dublin and Platte/US24?  Has all the build up at First and Town Center eliminated the possibility of any kind of interchanges on N and S Carefree Cir?
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2018, 11:25:44 AM »

Not impossible, just expensive.  Probably would involve a lot of walls and SPUI's.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2018, 03:07:22 PM »

I think the mile markers along Powers are pretty silly. Improvements along Powers, which to me seems like no more than a glorified street, have been happening at an extremely slow pace. For whatever those mile markers might be implying (such as a new I-25 alignment) it seems like long shot wishful thinking.

The short freeway segment between Woodmen Road and Interquest Parkway has taken around 15 years to build. If CDOT and the city of Colorado Springs ever had any ambitions to connect the North end of this road with I-25 they should have did that work at least 10 years ago. It looks to me like they completely missed their chance. Just beyond the North end of Powers there is all sorts of business and residential development is taking place rapidly in the Northgate area. Zero ROW is available beyond the direction where Powers is pointing. The only remaining, remotely feasible way of connecting the North end of the Powers Blvd freeway with I-25 is by building an elevated freeway over Interquest Parkway and modifying Exit I53 on I-25. It's either that or bulldoze a whole bunch of brand new, very expensive properties.

South of Woodmen, Powers Blvd has all sorts of encroachment issues getting in the way of any further upgrades to Interstate quality. There's no room for continuous frontage roads. So that's already a big problem. The intersection with Dublin has turned into a mess (new properties on all four corners leaving no room for exit ramps). Problems are similar at the intersections with Stetson Hills, Barnes, Palmer Park, Galley and Astrozon. You might be able to barely squeeze in exit ramps for Carefree Circle and Constitution.

Even if Powers Blvd could be upgraded to freeway quality down past the airport, what path is the route going to take to connect back into I-25? The path of Powers Blvd gets pretty crooked down at Security-Widefield. The South end of Academy connecting into I-25 is almost freeway quality. Milton Proby Parkway could be upgraded to a freeway fairly easily. But its intersection with Powers is a very sharp angle. That wouldn't work for the SE corner of a loop highway. A new freeway would need to spur off Powers at the bend where it turns into Mesa Ridge Parkway and then go South around the East side of Fountain and connect into I-25 around mile marker 125.

I've had family in the Colorado Springs area since the late 1990's and have visited the area frequently. To me, Powers Blvd overall seems only slightly different from what it was 20 years ago. And I'm not optimistic at all for it ever becoming a new alignment for I-25, much less even a 3-digit Interstate spur or loop off of I-25.

Colorado Springs has plenty of other road/highway issues. I've always hated US-24 Northeast of the Springs thru Falcon and Peyton. That road really needs to be 4-laned all the way to I-70 in Limon. Many of the intersections through there suck. They've had a lot of fatal collisions on that highway. Major arterials, such as Woodmen, spill out onto it. They dead-ended an extension of Meridian just shy of US-24. And it has sat that way for about a decade. Grass and weeds are growing up through the cracks in the pavement. I guess they're waiting for if/when US-24 gets any further 4-lane upgrades.
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Elm

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2018, 09:39:04 PM »

The northern extension of Powers is on a slow but seemingly steady path to construction now, with urban renewal funds from the Polaris Pointe shopping center around the would-be Powers/Voyager interchange making its way there. The Interquest/Hwy 83 interchange is sort of fuzzy; I seem to recall that wouldn’t get urban renewal funds, but I’d have to go back to look for a source. Powers & Research is next up for a CDOT-led project if money ever materializes. (I wonder what that’ll do to the Dublin intersection.)

About a year ago, the Polaris Pointe developer put out the word (here) that construction on the first phase, from I-25 to Voyager, would start this year. That didn’t quite happen—there’s been utility work, and they built a bridge that’ll connect two sides of Polaris Pointe over Powers—but the design apparently went out for final approvals last month.  I don’t have any guesses for when they’d start building something, but the developer certainly seems motivated, since there’s interest from prospective tenants that want to be near the two freeways.

Incidentally, the general look of the I-25/Powers/Northgate interchange is in this brochure. As I understand it, the ramp from northbound Powers to southbound I-25 won’t be part of the initial project, though.

Powers from Interquest to Voyager is reasonably safe as far as conceptual routes go, since the Flying Horse development it would go through was designed with space for it, but they are cutting out some or all of the Flying Horse Club Dr interchange. There’s a pretty nice graphic of that in the presentation (item 6) here (direct download link). Preparations (design and ROW acquisition from the Mining Museum) for that portion will allegedly be done in six months or so; actual construction is up in the air like the rest.

(I'm taking most of this information from the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority's August meeting.)

A while ago, there was a study over what it’d take to convert central Powers (from Dublin to Proby, inclusive) to a freeway, and the answers mostly came out to “really tight diamond interchanges,” along with property acquisitions in some of the really tight areas (e.g., all the lots on the east side of Gunshot Pass Dr.) Along the First & Main development, things get more involved with intermittent frontage roads and turnaround ramps; S. Carefree also doesn’t get an interchange. Tattered fragments from that study are available through the Wayback Machine; this has some text from the recommendations, and there are some hard to look at graphics here.

As for the southern extension, “near Pikes Peak International Raceway” is the usual tie in location that gets thrown around, and Fountain’s transportation plan specifies I-25 milepost 123. It doesn’t seem like anyone’s actively pursuing that, though.

Since there've been a few sort of recent developments around US 24—not that even this’ll happen, but a PEL study's recommending four lanes up to Peyton Hwy and eventually some interchanges. On the subject of US 24 and Meridian, I think they’re considering getting ready to plan to finish that in association with a park & ride on the other side of 24 featuring a realignment of Meridian from the south. El Paso County’s website is sort of hit-or-miss, though, so that might not be true.

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Bobby5280

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Re: Powers Blvd mileposts
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2018, 12:27:36 PM »

The Polaris Pointe Shopping Center and proposal to connect an extended Powers freeway to I-25 just West of there is interesting. From the shopping center freeway bridge project there is a small strip of possible ROW running East and then curving South (around the North side of Flying Horse Country Club) toward CO-83 and the current end of Powers. Unfortunately, according to June 2017 imagery in Google Earth, it looks like there is a big residential development scar digging out directly in the path of where the proposed freeway would connect back into Powers. Unless some key people in CDOT and city governments bother to intervene that possible freeway path will be killed. I can certainly imagine country club members at Flying Horse seeking to block the project (along with the other usual anti-freeway suspects). Highway projects such as this are in jeopardy from politics until they are funded and given the go-ahead.

The connection from Powers to I-25 is badly needed. There's no mistake about that. Unfortunately there's lots of people who have no big picture view of regional traffic needs and are only concerned about their own back yard. Farther down Powers conversion to Interstate quality is going to be a slog.

Out in the Falcon area the development pace has increased enough that US-24 needs to be 4-laned at least to Elbert Road (bare minimum) or up through Peyton and Calhan. A 4-lane with separate carriageways is easily do-able thru Peyton. A bypass would likely be needed for Calhan. If development keeps going the way it is going in Falcon some upgrades are going to be needed for Woodmen Road. They're not doing a good job of preserving ROW along Woodmen though. There's bits of partial frontage roads and a couple of bends that make it possible to build interchanges at Mohawk Road and Golden Sage Road. Any potential Woodmen freeway from Powers over to US-24 would probably have to actually end at the intersection of Meridian Road. There is a lot of development there and over to the intersection with US-24.
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