Residents Struggle With Ongoing Construction at 44th and Wadsworth

Construction on Wadsworth Boulevard and 44th Avenue continues, creating disruption for local businesses and residents. Photo by Frank DeAngeli.

The intersection at 44th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard is a hub of local business and a busy corridor for commuters. Lately, construction along both of these roads near their intersection has contributed to traffic jams, accidents and reduced access to local businesses.

The area’s recent construction comes as part of the “Improve Wadsworth” project, which, in part, seeks to create safer and more efficient intersections at 38th and 44th Avenues. Work has begun on building “continuous flow intersections,” (CFIs) at these corners. CFIs allow left-turning drivers to cross over the oncoming traffic lane before they reach the intersection, so that green signal time can be used simultaneously by those turning left and those going straight (as opposed to green-arrow-protected left turns). Maria D’Andrea, Wheat Ridge director of Public Works, touts the benefits of CFIs:

“The intent is really to move traffic quicker through an intersection,” D’Andrea said. “When you don’t have to allow for those left hand turn lanes in either direction, it gives more through time for people going straight.” 

D’Andrea also notes that the possibility of being involved in a broadside or “T-bone” accident is eliminated in a CFI.

A recent feature of this construction is a new median installed on 44th just east of Wadsworth. This addition in particular has been difficult and frustrating for local business owners and employees.

“For the last [almost] 30 years, I’ve been going in and out of that entrance to [FirstBank] from 44th,” said Jan Facinelli, who owns Holistic Care for Animals on 44th Avenue and Gray St. Facinelli now takes a several block detour in order to get to her bank. She has reached out to the city to express her disapproval of this new median.

Tim and Rosiena Dapper, area employees, who asked to withhold their employer information for privacy reasons, detailed some of the frustrations and experiences they’ve had with construction at this intersection.

“I’ve had several customers tell me they’re ready to go somewhere else,” Rosiena tells me. “[This location] used to be convenient, and now it’s not. It’s a mess right now. An absolute mess.” 

The Dappers have also heard multiple stories of people getting their cars stuck on the new median and having to call for tow trucks to get them off.

This construction has also impacted Tim and Rosiena’s lives outside of work. Their favorite restaurant sits right on the corner of 44th and Wadsworth.

“We’ve been going there for 25 years and we’ve actually said ‘if this gets any worse, we’ll go somewhere else,’” Rosiena said. 

D’Andrea’s message to Wheat Ridge residents?

“We totally understand — it’s never easy during construction. We appreciate your patience, and try and continue to utilize those businesses as much as you can.”

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