A major road improvement project in Ridgway is set to start next week.
The project includes widening State Highway 62 through the town and adding a turn lane. Additionally, the main streets through downtown will be paved for the first time (in Ridgway's 125-year history) and landscaping, public art, curbs, and gutters will be installed.
Ridgway is working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to make it happen.
Mayor John Clark said he’s happy to see the initiative come to life after more than a decade of discussion and planning. He also said he recognizes the construction could pose a challenge for residents and businesses. And, some like the way the town looks now.
"There's still some feeling among some people that revitalizing, refurbishing downtown is going to somehow get rid of town of Ridgway's sort of old Western funk-feel," said Clark. "I can certainly understand that, but I really believe that this is going to be an incredibly positive thing for the basic economic development climate in Ridgway."
CDOT estimated it will spend $10.5 million on the upgrades. And, the town is putting up $2 million through a state grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and a voter-approved bond initiative.
Once construction starts, officials said it could end next fall, but pick up again in spring 2017.
CDOT and Ridgway will also host an open house to discuss the project on the evening of Thursday, March 17 at town hall from 5:30-8:00.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated for clarity.