From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Saja Hindi):
For the Colorado Department of Transportation to be able to move forward with its first phase of construction on permanent repairs to U.S. 34, the agency will have to come to an agreement with the city of Loveland.
Part of the construction work for repairs after the 2013 flood will require crews to use some of the Loveland-owned properties, right-of-ways and easements in the Big Thompson Canyon.
Loveland City Council members will vote at their meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday on whether to allow CDOT to move forward with its work before the two entities come to a formal intergovernmental agreement in the next 90 days.
The meeting will take place in the Council Chambers in the municipal building at 500 E. Third St.
City Manager Bill Cahill said this will also be another chance for Loveland residents to ask any questions they may have about the permanent repairs on U.S. 34.
Cahill said although the city’s most commonly-known property in the canyon is Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park, it also owns land to the east and west of the park.
The first phase of the U.S. 34 reconstruction will first require rock blasting for a new roadway alignment at the horseshoe curve, west of Viestenz-Smith, where the city owns land.
“The Agreement will permit CDOT to move forward with construction prior to a final agreement on the value of the required Loveland right of way,” a City Council memo states.
Additional city property that CDOT will need to use as well as compensation to the city will be discussed at the July 5 City Council meeting.
Staff members have been working with CDOT officials for the past year on the best road alignment possibilities, according to the council memo.
“One key goal for road reconstruction is to create a safer and more resilient roadway alignment that works in harmony with the Big Thompson River. Eliminating the horseshoe curve west of the Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park (“VSMP”) is one of the greatest opportunities to accomplish this goal,” it stated.
The new alignment will cross through the Rosedale property, west of Viestenz-Smith, which the city owns.
Additionally, CDOT will need to move excess rock out of the canyon during the three-year reconstruction period, Cahill said, and is looking for a staging area and site to dispose of the rock spoils on the east edge of Round Mountain, south of U.S. 34 and Viestenz-Smith
Cahill said as more of the permanent plans are made for the roadway, there could be more possibilities near the city-owned properties for recreational opportunities along the river, falling in line with a longterm vision for the Big Thompson Canyon among Larimer County, its municipalities and CDOT.
For more information, go to http://cityofloveland.org.