The Pueblo Chieftan

McCulloch Boulevard turn remains status quo

The intersection of McCulloch Boulevard and Spaulding Avenue has been up for debate since reconstruction efforts. (Christine ina Casilla/View photo)
The intersection of McCulloch Boulevard and Spaulding Avenue has been up for debate since reconstruction efforts. (Christine ina Casilla/View photo)

After much discussion, Pueblo West Metropolitan District board members voted 3-2 in favor of leaving the intersection of Spaulding and McCulloch Boulevard unchanged in its construction. Members voted at the June 11 meeting after hearing from District Manager Jack Johnston and discussing their concerns.

Since the construction project along McCulloch Blvd. was finished last year – which changed the configuration of the questioned intersection – concerns have been raised to the board about possible safety issues with the setup.

Johnston told board members that engineering experts weighed in, and after much consideration, conclusion of Metro District staff was that there was “not enough of a compelling reason to recommend any change to the intersection” and suggested “maintaining the status quo.”

As is, the alignment of lanes running east and west along Spaulding is slightly off, and some board members said there is confusion among drivers in the area. A conceptual drawing was presented as a possible alternative to the current configuration, though Johnston and Pueblo West Metropolitan District Attorney Thomas Mullans noted it was only conceptual and because the road belongs to the county, the District doesn’t have authority to make modifications without county approval first.

The conceptual drawing showed “the only thing we think would work, if the board felt there were compelling reasons to do so outside of staff and engineer estimates,” Johnston said. The concept includes a raised median between the east and westbound lanes on Spaulding, on the West side of McCulloch. Putting the median there, Johnston noted, would mean drivers could not turn into the Loaf ‘N Jug while traveling west, or the Taco Bell and Quick Stop while traveling eastbound.

Johnston said Director of Public Works Dan Centa reviewed traffic accident reports from the area and said there have been only three minor accidents at the intersection since completion last year.

“If you apply traffic engineering as you would anywhere — and understand that this is a very awkward intersection — we believe that there is not enough reason to make a change of the intersection,” Johnston said.

Board members Bill Vickers, Jerry Martin and Christine McCarthy all voted in favor of leaving the intersection as is, as recommended by staff.

“We have other intersections that have had fatalities that we’re not as concerned about, so I don’t see that it warrants (a change),” Vickers said.

“Even as goofy as that intersection is, right now I have a hard time supporting any changes,” Martin said.

Board members Lew Quigley and Mike French disagreed, saying they still had serious concerns about the intersection.

“From the very start, I was in opposition to the design that the county forced on us,” French said. “I go there almost everyday, and especially in the mornings and evenings, it’s not a good intersection. The current situation is just not meeting the safety of our citizens of Pueblo West. We’ve got to do something different than what is there now.”

Quigley said he believes the intersection is confusing and dangerous and said he feels action should be taken.

“I am in favor of some sort of barrier that would keep the traffic going west from impacting the traffic going east on Spaulding,” he said. “I don’t care what the lines say, (Someone is) going to have a serious accident there and I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”

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