Congestion-Free Trails – Revamping Crowfoot Valley Road for a Heavenly Drive

As a part of a design project kicked off for the widening of Crowfoot Valley Road from Knobcone Drive to Macanta Boulevard, the Town of Castle Rock solicited a contract to seek for engineering services and general technical support for the transformation.
Town of Castle Rock Town Council
Courtesy: Town of Castle Rock
By | 10 min read

According to a 2020 assessment released by the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) in collaboration with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the intensity of traffic congestion in the United States has worsened in recent decades.

“In 1982, the average person living in one of the country’s 75 largest cities faced seven hours of travel delay each year,” according to the research. “By 2001, that figure had risen to 26 hours per year, and the most congested periods of the day — once known as ‘rush hour’ — had expanded to cover nearly six hours of each day… with the average ‘rush hour’ trip taking nearly 40% longer than the same trip at other times of the day.”

The occurrence of traffic congestion on highways, combined with projections of future traffic growth, motivates road authorities to expand carriageway lanes to boost capacity.

The Town of Castle Rock is a good example; they are working on the Crowfoot Valley Road expansion project. The town requested proposals from competent consulting firms to provide engineering services and general technical support for the Crowfoot Valley Road Widening project as part of this plan.

To comprehend this solicitation, it’s good to take a look at Castle Rock and the traffic status there.

Harmony with Nature – Castle Rock’s Idyllic Surroundings

Castle Rock, the Colorado Front Range foothills, located in a region insulated from the terrible winter storms of the mountains and just outside the reach of the scorching heat of the plains, provided a great place for Native Americans and the wildlife they sought for food.

Timberlands, grassy plains, and foothills drained by the Arkansas and Platte rivers given enough flora and water to sustain the Native American diet of antelope, buffalo, deer, and rabbit.

White settlers were attracted by gold stories and land made available by the Homestead Act of 1864. The finding of rhyolite stone in the butte near Plum Creek, on the other hand, is what put Castle Rock on the map.

The identity of the town is derived not just from the namesake rock, but also from the stunning natural landscape that surrounds it. Castle Rock is a mainstay on Money magazine’s top places to live list, with 110 miles of trails, 55 well-planned parks, and more than 6,680 acres of open space for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Town of Castle Rock Town Hall
Courtesy: Town of Castle Rock

Castle Rock’s cost of living is slightly higher than the national average, with two-bedroom rent costing $2,240 compared to $1,430 across the US. The cost of groceries is likewise slightly higher in Castle Rock, with an index of 102 compared to the national average of 100. Banner Health Center, Cabela’s, PepsiCo., and Safeway are among the businesses in Castle Rock. Castle Rock is an excellent area to reside in because of its beautiful vistas and numerous amenities.

The unemployment rate in Castle Rock is 5.3%. The average in the United States is 6.0%. Furthermore, the job market in Castle Rock has grown by 2.8% in the last year. Future job growth is expected to be 50.1% over the next 10 years, which is higher than the US average of 33.5%.

Over the last decade, the Town has grown at a rate of 10% each year, and this trend is expected to continue.

Within this fast-paced climate, the key task for the Public Works Department is to adequately plan for the Town’s anticipated expansion, make the necessary upgrades in a timely and cost-effective way, and maintain the current infrastructure with limited resources.

As a developing region, citizens and visitors of Castle Rock have experienced quite a bit of roadway construction recently, especially on Crowfoot Valley Road. That’s the driving force behind a design project for the widening of Crowfoot Valley Road from Knobcone Drive to Macanta Boulevard.

On the Horizon – Crowfoot Valley Road’s New Look Coming Soon

Crowfoot Valley Road is currently a two-lane asphalt route having sections in both the Town of Castle Rock and Douglas County.

Crowfoot Valley Road has been identified for roadway and pedestrian enhancements in the 2017 Transportation Master Plan (TMP), which will maintain adequate capacity, enhance multimodal travel experiences, improve safety, and ensure effective road network connections as traffic levels increase.

Additional vehicle travel lanes, auxiliary lanes, signal construction at Sapphire Pointe Boulevard, a bike lane in the northeast headed direction, and complete sidewalk(s) throughout the corridor are all part of the enhancements.

Within the last six years, the plan has been proposed to and adopted by the Town Council in various versions. First, Town staff noted the need for extra lanes, new pedestrian facilities, and intersection upgrades in the 2017 Transportation Master Plan (TMP). This plan was approved and adopted by the Town Council in 2017.

The Town Council authorized $365,000 and $2,000,000 in financing for Project 13 in 2019 and 2021, respectively. In 2019, $365,000 was set aside for the construction of a roundabout at Crowfoot and Timber Canyon, which has since been scrapped due to community concerns.

The $2,000,000 budget was dedicated for the project through approval of the “2022 Operating and Capital Improvement Budget”. The project was most recently discussed with the Town Council in January 2023, when Council instructed Town Staff to proceed with the proposed concept for the roadway layout/design.

Town of Castle Rock Lanscape
Courtesy: Town of Castle Rock

Recent improvements along Crowfoot Valley Road have been completed, and the goal of this project is to finish improvements to address the gap outlined in the Town’s Transportation Master Plan.

To get closer to the execution process, the Town of Castle Rock’s (Town) Public Works Department has requested proposals from qualified consulting firms to provide engineering services and general technical support for the Crowfoot Valley Road Widening project.

Engaging Engineering Consultants for Crowfoot Valley Road Widening

Rather than being employed in-house, consulting engineers work on short-term assignments for several companies. They apply their knowledge in fields such as public and private infrastructure planning, design, construction, and analysis.

Civil, structural, environmental, chemical, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical, agricultural, and industrial engineers are employed in the consulting engineering field to benefit society through the development and application of safer and more efficient products, processes, and procedures.

The Town of Castle Rock was looking for a consultant expected to provide a full range of engineering services and accept project engineering responsibility at all levels. Let’s get to the next part to learn what the vendor needs to fulfill in this project.

Aiding the Transformation of the Most Important Link

The Consultant will provide miscellaneous support as requested by the Town to support the overall project, beyond the specific tasks outlined in the scope. This support will be identified and authorized by the Town based on their needs.

There are several proposed improvements, starting from Crowfoot Valley Road SH-86 to Knobcone Drive.

In this segment, roadway improvements will involve widening the road, adding a northeast bound right turn auxiliary lane onto Knobcone Drive, and replacing the necessary curb and gutter. Pedestrian enhancements include reconstructing/replacing the sidewalk, installing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramps at the Knobcone crossing, and incorporating an on-street bike lane.

Wet utility work may involve relocating a fire hydrant, adjusting a sanitary sewer manhole, and addressing storm drainage and water quality improvements such as enhancing detention ponds. Dry utility work will entail relocating an electric transformer, communications box, and extending core electric conduit facilities for new streetlights.

Next, from Knobcone Drive to concrete pavement, the task includes widening the road, replacing existing asphalt pavements, and adding a curbed median throughout. The proposed concept will be assessed against design criteria, with modifications as needed. Pedestrian improvements include an 8-foot sidewalk, a pedestrian crossing between Knobcone and Diamond Ridge, and a 5-foot on-street bike lane.

Finally, from Sapphire Pointe to Macanta Blvd, the vender needs to widen the road, add medians, and assess the proposed concept against design criteria. Intersection signal improvements will be made at Sapphire Pointe, along with pedestrian enhancements connecting sidewalks, implementing a pedestrian crossing, and adding bike lanes.

Storm drainage and water quality improvements will be designed to meet Town of Castle Rock criteria. Wet utility work may involve relocating a fire hydrant and addressing dry utility needs for electric, communications, and fiber optics.

It’s important to note that the provided information is a summary of the tasks described in the given scope of work. Further details and specific requirements may be present in the original document.

The Missing Link – Locating the Final Element for Execution

To be considered, all responses must be received before the deadline set in the RFP’s Proposal Instruction section. Following the RFP closing date, proposals would be evaluated. The following evaluation elements would be utilized to assess and select the Consultant.

To be reviewed for the project, all replies to the proposal must be delivered by the deadline provided in the RFP’s Proposal Instruction section. The evaluation criteria were divided into two sections: Firm/Team Qualifications and Project Approach and Methodology.

Town of Castle Rock council member in a conference
Courtesy: Town of Castle Rock

Under Firm/Team Qualifications, the evaluation factors include the professional experience, track record, and specific roles of the respondent’s team in executing similar projects over the past five years.

Additionally, the qualifications, training, experience, education, and professional licenses of the key personnel who will be assigned to Town projects are considered. The organizational matrix of the respondent, specifically in relation to the discipline area(s) relevant to the project, is also evaluated.

Regarding Project Approach and Methodology, the evaluation factors encompass the respondent’s understanding of the Town’s objectives and their ability to develop innovative approaches to meet these objectives.

By considering these evaluation factors, the selection committee aimed to identify the most qualified Consultant Firm/Team for the project, ensuring that the chosen candidate possesses the necessary qualifications, expertise, and approach to successfully meet the Town’s objectives.

A selection committee might include the Town of Castle Rock and Douglas County representatives. Proposals have been evaluated on the following weighted criteria to determine the preferred respondent. These criteria were the basis for review of the written proposals. The rating scale might be from 1 to 5, with 1 being a poor rating, 3 being an average rating, and 5 being an outstanding rating.

3.0Project Approach and MethodologyDoes the proposal show an understanding of the project objective, methodology to be used and results that are desired from the project? Is the respondent’s proposal complete and competent in addressing the scope of work? Does the proposal discuss possible constraints and suggested resolutions?
2.0Firm/Team QualificationsDoes the proposed team have the expertise to perform the scope? Is the proposed team structured in an efficient manner?
2.0FeeDoes the respondent offer cost effective services?

The proposals have also had project references checked by the Project Manager using the following criteria: the evaluation rankings labeled Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.

Overall PerformanceWould you hire this consultant(s) again? Did they show the skills required by this project?
TimetableWas the original Scope of Work completed within the specified time? Were interim deadlines met in a timely manner?
CompletenessWas the consultant(s) responsive to client needs; did the consultant(s) anticipate problems? Were problems resolved quickly and effectively?
BudgetWas the original Scope of Work completed within the project budget?
Job KnowledgeDid the consultant(s) have the expertise to complete the Scope of Work? Were problems corrected quickly and effect

Fueling Prosperity – Carrying the Economy’s Pulse

Roads are the arteries that carry the economy’s pulse. Roads are critical to any development strategy because they connect producers to markets, workers to jobs, children to school, and the sick to hospitals. 

Since 2002, the World Bank has built or renovated over 260,000 kilometers of road. It provides more funding for highways than it does for education, health, and social services combined.  While roads provide economic and social benefits, they can also have social costs such as pollution or deforestation. 

The Amazon jungle is crossed by about 100,000 kilometers of roads—enough to round the globe twice and a half time. Furthermore, the transportation sector accounts for approximately 23% of worldwide energy-related CO2 emissions and a major portion of local particle pollution. When planning any action, such compromises must be considered.

Many governments want to stimulate economic growth and construct road infrastructure in economically disadvantaged areas. This is due to the importance of road infrastructure in enabling mobility for the efficient movement of people and commodities, as well as access to a wide range of commercial and social activities.

The widening of Crowfoot Valley Road in the Town of Castle Rock brings several benefits to the community. It improves traffic flow by increasing the road’s capacity to handle a higher volume of vehicles.

Town of Castle Rock is hosting a meeting
Courtesy: Town of Castle Rock

This alleviates congestion, reduces travel times, and enhances overall transportation efficiency. With smoother traffic movement, residents and commuters experience improved convenience and reduced frustration on their daily routes.

The road widening project enhances safety by providing additional space for vehicles and implementing improved traffic management measures. A wider road reduces the risk of accidents and allows for safer maneuvers, benefiting both motorists and pedestrians.

By prioritizing safety, the Town of Castle Rock creates a more secure and appealing environment for residents and visitors alike. Ultimately, the Crowfoot Valley Road widening project contributes to the town’s development, ensuring it can accommodate future growth, support economic prosperity, and provide enhanced connectivity throughout the community.

Crowfoot Valley Road Widening Gains Momentum for Construction

After Castle Rock’s Director of Public Works Dan Sailer presented the plan specifics, town council members directed staff to proceed forward with planning the widening of Crowfoot Valley Road on January 3, 2023.

According to Sailer, the planned changes will assist preserve the road’s capacity while also improving safety.

“We want to increase the reliability and decrease the amount of downtime that residents would typically face,” he said.

Sailer stated that the project would be done in collaboration with the county, so costs would be split, but no agreement has yet been ratified.

Crowfoot Valley Road will be expanded from two to four lanes from Knobcone Drive to Macanta Boulevard, with raised medians, bike lanes, sidewalks, and left turn acceleration lanes at non-signalized junctions. Sapphire Pointe Boulevard will have a new traffic light.

The council debated whether or not the acceleration lanes should be included in the proposal.

Sailer said a design consultant for the town suggested not including the left turn acceleration lanes because the distance available for the lanes was not ideal for traffic flow. However, Sailer said feedback from residents at the town hall meetings for the project voiced overwhelming support for including the lanes.

“In general, the public was supportive of the wider and taller medians where we can put them into place, but they were not receptive to actually eliminating the left turn acceleration lanes, so as a result of that, we are recommending that we keep them,” he said.

Councilmember Laura Cavey, who represents District 2, which includes the project area, also advocated for keeping the left turn acceleration lanes as part of the project, noting all of the comments she heard were in favor of the lanes.

“(The design with the left turn acceleration lanes) is the original design, so it’s something that was already approved by the engineers, so I am in full support of what my district wants,” Cavey said.

Sailer and the council also discussed the possibility of installing a roundabout at Sapphire Pointe Boulevard, instead of a traffic signal, but community feedback preferred the traffic signal.

Town of Castle Rock celebrates new milestone
Courtesy: Town of Castle Rock

Ultimately, the council told staff to move forward with the raised medians, left turn acceleration lanes and a signal at Sapphire Pointe.

Other potential changes town staff evaluated but didn’t recommend were lowering the speed limit, adding signage to alert drivers to a reduced speed zone, and installing an automated speed enforcement system.

Castle Rock Police Chief Jack Cauley said the automated speed enforcement system isn’t in line with the department’s community policing philosophy and could be seen as government overreach.

“It’s just something we haven’t looked at as far as being feasible or consistent with our policing philosophy,” Cauley said.

Construction of the project is expected to begin late 2023.

The Bottom Lines

The widening is the Town’s effort to create a smooth link between the Town’s north-easterly outskirts, Douglas County, and I-25. This is a part of the City’s grand plan in transforming the area’s transportation facilities.

The Town recognizes that every project is unique. The setting and character of the area, the needs of the residents and users of the transportation system are all factors that must be considered, along with the values of the community, to achieve a successful project.

This contract to expand the Crowfoot Valley Road is just a small element of the whole feast that the local governors are trying to bring to the Town of Castle Rock.

  • Our team of staff writers is a carefully curated group of talented and experienced individuals who are passionate about producing exceptional content. They are handpicked for their unique perspectives and…