Time for the Lead / Coal Switcheroo!


At 8 p.m. on Sunday night, July 31, 2011, Coal will open to two-way traffic and Lead will close to thru traffic between University and Washington as crews mark an important project milestone – completion of construction on Coal. At this time, construction is one month ahead of schedule. During construction on Lead, Coal Avenue will have one lane of traffic in each direction.

Motorists will be able to turn left at five intersections with working traffic signals: 1) Coal at University; 2) Coal at Yale; 3) Coal at Girard; 4) Coal at Carlisle; and 5) Coal at Washington. Two crews will work on the project. One crew has been at work on Lead between I-25 and University since May 2011 and will complete that section sometime this fall. A second crew will begin at University and head east on Lead. Regular work hours will be Mon-Fri 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., although crews may work longer hours or on weekends as needed. Construction will include removing roadway, installing larger storm drainage pipeline, restoring roadway and installing new curb and gutter, sidewalks and landscaping. Motorists should allow extra time to reach their destinations, exercise caution in the construction zone, pay attention to construction signage and use an alternative route if possible. NO on-street parking will be allowed on Coal or Lead in the construction zone. Construction on Lead is expected to last through spring 2012.

FYI: Project Is One Month Ahead of Schedule at This Time; On Track for Completion in Spring 2012

Views: 122

Comment by Mark on July 26, 2011 at 7:57am
Great update.  Thanks.  Hey, do you know if the plan is for the traffic lights to be timed when the project is complete?
Comment by Krista on July 26, 2011 at 8:21am
YAY!  If anyone has not walked or biked down Coal in its practically finished state, you need to!  It looks amazing and having a street closed off to cars is so wonderful!  The crews have done a wonderful job--I've been very impressed with this project!
Comment by JeSais on July 26, 2011 at 8:58am
Mark. I believe the plan is to have the lights timed so that you need to go the speed limit else (is that what you mean?) as it was before.  Also, the landscaping is supposed to help with traffic calming, but we'll see.  I believe our neighborhood also requested a speed study be done after the project is complete so we can evaluate.
Comment by Benny the Icepick on July 26, 2011 at 9:30am

//Also, the landscaping is supposed to help with traffic calming, but we'll see.//

If the traffic west of University is any indication, it seems to be working (though that may have more to do with the two-way narrow lanes than the plantings).  Either way, it's gorgeous and I'm proud to live in a city that believes in roadway beautification and multimodal transportation.


On a side note, now that Coal is narrower than it used to be - with room for two lanes of traffic and a 6' bike lane - it doesn't appear that there will be room for left turn lanes at the lights.  I'm wondering how the traffic engineers will handle the signaling at those five intersections until the project is done and the need for left turn lanes disappears.


Thanks as always, JeSais, for keeping us up to date!

Comment by Joe Cardillo on July 26, 2011 at 9:58am
Great news, especially for those of us who ride, this connects bike lanes between Downtown and the University/Nob Hill area, which is something that's been lacking.
Comment by Benny the Icepick on July 26, 2011 at 10:07am

Yeah, except the past month or two that they made the switch between I-25 and University has been hell on bikes.  


If you're eastbound, climbing Coal to I-25, you have to pull over into the leftmost lane of traffic (which really makes the drivers happy, let me tell you), then merge to the right lane on the frontage road, and hold the right lane for about 200 yards until you can turn onto Silver, while all the cars behind you are revving their engines to get onto the freeway.


Westbound, Silver spits you out onto the same one-way frontage road, where again you have to get into the left-most lane, and then you have to turn left onto Central and either ride the whole hill while being tailgated by angry pickup drivers, or pull across into the left lane to turn down Lead again.

Comment by Joe Cardillo on July 26, 2011 at 10:11am
Oh yeah that is the truth. The first few times I did exactly that but almost got run over, now I've just been either biting the bullet and getting on the sidewalk that section or riding over to MLK.
Comment by hettie on July 26, 2011 at 11:45am
whoa! this means we'd better get off our butts and get our back gate in good working order so we can get in and out of our house through the alley. I was sort of counting on having a little more time to fix it, but it's hard to complain about construction that's so far ahead of schedule. thanks for the update!
Comment by chantal on July 26, 2011 at 3:21pm

It's a well-crafted overhaul and something that will reconnect this sadly bisected neighborhood.


Benny, so there's a well-marked bike lane going in as well? Very cool.


Thx for the update, JeSais!

Comment by JeSais on July 26, 2011 at 3:43pm
the bike lanes will go in once the whole project is complete, and Lead is back to one way going West and Coal is back to one way going East (or was it vice versa? I can't even remember anymore!)


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