The drive from the east side of Windsor to Interstate 25 recently got a lot smoother as the orange barrels and traffic diversions vanished along Colo. 392, prompting motorists and business owners alike to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
While the interchange’s final landscaping and cosmetic touch-ups are expected to continue for several months and into the spring, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced that concrete and asphalt construction from near the interstate through downtown to near Colo. 257 was complete.
“We want to thank the community for their patience throughout the course of this project,” engineer Nicki Upright said in a news release, noting a few “complications” along the way.
Those problems were no more apparent than along the downtown corridor where businesses were virtually paralyzed for several days early in October during resurfacing efforts, which restricted Main Street to one lane.
“It shut business down, pretty much,” said Dan Stauss, a 19-year owner of Memory Lane Antiques downtown. “It was a nightmare.”
Stauss said the parking confusion made it virtually impossible to conduct business. The rattling walls and deafening construction commotion didn’t help matters either, he said.
“I’m just glad they did it before the holidays,” Stauss said, hoping sales would rebound entering into the booming season for retailers, especially once the election wraps up.
Down the road toward I-25 where new — and at times confusing — traffic patterns appeared virtually overnight, shops were revelling in the new road and added accessibility, though still trying to repair a year’s worth of sputtering business.
“We lost a lot of business,” said Todd Wilson, manager of Otie’s Wine and Spirits in the strip mall on the north side of the interchange. He said because of the construction, sales dropped “well over” 30 percent for the store, which has been around for 12 years. Now that the road is open, the struggle is trying to get customers back in the door who may have started shopping somewhere else.
“That’s pretty hard to swallow,” he said. “It left kind of a bad taste in our mouth. Now that it’s open, it’s fantastic. But it’s empty.”
Secorra Brown lives just minutes away from the interchange and remembered sitting in endless traffic on her way to work as a front desk supervisor at the AmericInn hotel — ground zero for the heaviest traffic and confusion throughout the year-long project.
“The flow of it definitely works for the businesses up here,” she said of the added lanes. She said she can imagine the area attracting additional retailers in the very near future — something town officials have often said was part of the appeal for such a large project.
“It’s very convenient,” Brown added. “It definitely has picked up traffic and handles it greatly. We love it, that’s for sure.”