AURORA | Traffic congestion at the intersection of Gun Club Road and Quincy Avenue has been and issue for years for Aurora’s southeast residents, and is only slated to worsen, according to city officials. Both Quincy and Gun Club are one lane in each direction and Aurora’s plans to expand the intersection into two six-lane roadways is still decades away due to cost.
But thanks to $12.7 million that includes federal funds awarded to Arapahoe County through the Denver Council of Regional Governments and matching funds from the City of Aurora, the intersection will at least be able to widen to four lanes in coming years.
At a June 27 study session, Aurora City Council members agreed to move forward with an intergovernmental agreement between the City of Aurora and Arapahoe County that would allow for the design of the four-lane expansion, with legs extending 1,200 feet in each direction. Improvements to the intersection would also include a new bike lane or shoulder, according to city documents.
The intersection is the joint responsibility of Aurora and Arapahoe County. According to Arapahoe County, the City of Aurora owns the center 60 feet of Quincy Avenue and Arapahoe County owns the south leg of the intersection as well as the portions of Quincy Avenue outside the center 60 feet.
The design will also be the city’s first partial continuous flow intersection, according to city documents.
Unlike a traditional intersection, a continuous flow design removes left-turning vehicles from the main intersection, which allows green lights to be longer for through traffic.
Aurora Deputy Director of Public Works Kevin Wegener said at a June Parks, Public Works and Transportation policy committee meeting that left-turn backups at Quincy Avenue and Gun Club Road were problematic at the intersection.
Wegener said at the meeting that, under the new design, northbound traffic from Gun Club Road onto Quincy Avenue will have a new left-turn signal across the oncoming traffic protected with that signal, and that the design will allow the southbound through traffic to proceed through the intersection unimpeded.
In total, the design work will cost $990,746 with Aurora and Arapahoe County splitting the cost.
In 2008, city officials attempted to expand the intersection with the help of Arapahoe County, but the city did not have the funds to move forward at the time.
Issues on the roads were highlighted in 2015 when congestion near the Rocky Mountain Airshow at Aurora Reservoir left drivers stuck at the intersection for hours.
The organizers canceled the show outright this year, though they did not specify traffic as the reason, according to the Denver Post.
In 2014, Aurora voters said no to turning Aurora’s Arapahoe Park horse-race track into a full-fledged casino, even though casino backers promised tens of millions of dollars in improvements to the intersection and other congested roads near the racing facility at the city’s most southeast reaches.
The issue is set to be heard at a regular Aurora City Council meeting July 11.
If approved, Arapahoe County said construction on the intersection for the widening project would begin in 2017 or 2018.
— Aurora Sentinel reporter Quincy Snowdon contributed to this story.