Engineers drafting plans to put $9 million grant to work at congested crossing

David Gilbert

Littleton recently landed a $9.1 million federal grant to overhaul the intersection of Santa Fe Drive and Mineral Avenue, Public Works Director Keith Reester told a city council study session on July 23.

City officials are gearing up to revamp one of the city’s most congested intersections, though a full-scale fix is still a long way off.

Addressing problems at the crossing is a top priority for city engineers, Reester said.

“This is one of the most challenging and highest-accident intersections in the city,” Reester said. “Traffic could get even higher with new development growing to the south.”

City engineers have settled on a plan for the grant, Reester said: a “quad-road” interchange, which will add a sort of mini-beltway on the southwest and northwest corners of the intersection, redirecting much of the traffic that currently lines up to turn left in the center of the intersection.

The change could add as much as 60% to the total capacity of the intersection, Reester said.

“If nobody ever turned left, intersections would go really fast and work awesome, but we do that,” Reester said.

The intersection currently sees about 90,000 vehicles a day, according to city data, which could climb to 120,000 by 2040 — or even higher as developments like Sterling Ranch in Douglas County grow, as well as planned multi-use developments currently in the works at the southwest corner of the intersection.

Construction on the intersection likely won’t start for a couple more years, Reester said, because the city must complete designs for the expansion, and must negotiate with landowners for rights-of-way. RTD owns the area where the northwest ring road would be built, and it would have to be incorporated into the light rail station infrastructure.

The southwest portion would run through the old Ensor property, now slated for development by Evergreen Devco.,284087