Speeders ticketed in construction zone, tri-intersection bridge work on schedule
By Ray Bowden and Laurie Wilson
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force Academy saw a spike in speeding tickets given this month near the tri-intersection bridge.
Citations were given to drivers of vehicles in the construction zone near the intersection of Pine Drive and Stadium Boulevard, where work is being done to refurbish the tri-intersection bridge.
“For first-time offenders, the next step may include removal of driving privileges on-base,” said Col. David Harris, Academy vice commander.
Chief Master Sgt. Shadd McKee, manager of the 10th Security Forces Squadron, said the suspension of base-driving privileges is based on a points system.
“Twelve points in a year gets your on-base driving privileges suspended,” he said. “If the first offense was for traveling at 45mph in a 25 mph zone, that would give you six points for 20 mph over the speed limit.”
Speeders traveling one-to-10 mph above the speed limit accrue 3 points; 11-to-15 mph over gets them four points; and over 15 mph but under 20 mph gets them five points. If you’re traveling 20 mph over the limit, you’ll rack-up six points.
“If you’re caught doing the same amount over, then you would have your driving privileges suspended,” McKee said.
The uptick in citations could be due in part to drivers not paying attention to the change in speed limit in the construction zone.
“When you’re used to going 45 mph and it changes to 25 mph, you might take it for granted but we’ve certainly advertised the change in speed limit with signs and via our other channels,” he said. “In the end, it’s all about public safety for our drivers and for the workforce fixing the bridge.”
The $15.2 million refurbishing project began late last year and is scheduled to last through spring 2019. The work includes lane reductions and traffic detours.
Project officials said the detours could add an extra 15 minutes of driving time for those traveling out the Academy’s South Gate.
The bridge is the single-major crossing point for Academy staff and their families, District 20 school busses, delivery trucks, medical patients and others.
“No change is expected for commuter access through the South Gate for the duration of the project,” said Col. David Kincaid, commander of the 10th Mission Support Group, before the work began. “However, traffic will be impacted as vehicles merge due to lane closures on the bridge.”
Bridge traffic lanes will be reduced to one lane in each direction.
“Repairing and improving the bridge’s structure will ensure its utility and improve safety for years to come,” Kincaid said.
The bridge and the majority of the Academy’s infrastructure is close to 60 years-old, Kinkaid said.
Kincaid said the project is worth the cost and temporary inconvenience for commuters because years of heavy traffic has taken its toll. While several repairs have been completed to the bridge in previous years, Kincaid said it’s time for a full refurbish.
McKee hopes drivers pay attention to the speed limit everywhere on base.
“Sure, we’re paying very close attention to the construction site,” he said. “We’re here to enhance and improve the safety of our roadways for everyone, including the construction workers.”