Arapahoe Road construction near University Boulevard begins in Centennial

Work could last 18 months; other road projects are also in motion


A spot just outside of a major intersection in the south metro area will undergo construction work over the next year and a half to replace an aging part of Arapahoe Road that runs above Big Dry Creek.

Just east of University Boulevard in west Centennial, that bridge over the creek is “well past its prime,” a summary of the project on the City of Centennial’s website says.

The bridge deck is cracking, the concrete on the deck underside is crumbling and steel beams are starting to show wear, according to the summary.

The bridge over the creek was originally constructed in 1945 and “is past its useful life,” the city’s website says.

“For its age, this bridge is in pretty good shape,” said Allison Wittern, city spokesperson. She added: “However, it does not convey creek flows sufficiently and could be flooded in a major storm. The new bridge is designed to convey those flows.”

The construction project will replace the existing bridge with a wider and taller structure, improve pedestrian access over and around the bridge, and make improvements to the Big Dry Creek drainage and waterway system, according to a news release.

Here’s more information on the Arapahoe Road project and about other work on major roads in the Centennial area.

Addressing traffic backup

Because of the age of the Arapahoe Road bridge, the city has limited information on its design, and it is unclear whether the bridge was widened at some point since 1945, according to Wittern.

In any case, the bridge makes up a small stretch of Arapahoe Road that is notably narrower than the parts on either side of it. On top of that, the current median in that area restricts traffic access to the left-hand turn lanes, causing backups, according to the summary.

“The (proposed) narrower median will allow earlier access (for) traffic turning onto southbound University Boulevard,” the summary says.

Other routes suggested

Changes at the Arapahoe Road bridge are still in their early stages, but drivers in the area should watch for traffic impacts.

The city announced that work has begun to reconstruct the bridge in a Feb. 4 news release.

On the week of Feb. 14, removal of roadway and the median will begin and may last several weeks, according to the release. Drivers should watch for traffic shifts and lane closures.

“All construction activities are weather dependent and subject to change for the safety of crews and the traveling public,” the release said.

The project is expected to last about 18 months, according to the release. Alternate routes are advised during construction, and drivers are encouraged to use Orchard Road, University Boulevard and Dry Creek Road, Wittern said.

Trail closure

Pedestrians in the area will eventually see some improvement to the Big Dry Creek Trail at Arapahoe Road once the project adds a new trail connection.

Currently, a staircase is the only access to the Big Dry Creek Trail at that point, according to the project summary.

“There will be concrete path connections from Arapahoe Road sidewalks to the Big Dry Creek Trail on both the north and south sides of the road, on the east side of the bridge,” Wittern said.

But before improvements arrive, pedestrians will need to use different routes. Starting the week of Feb. 21, the Big Dry Creek Trail beneath Arapahoe Road will close until spring 2023 to accommodate construction activities, according to Wittern. Detour signs will be posted.

County Line Road widening

Drivers will see another major road project in the west Centennial area when County Line Road gets widened from University Boulevard to Broadway. The road will consist of two lanes in each direction when complete.

Construction on the project is expected to begin later this year and may take one year to complete, Wittern said. Douglas County will be managing that project, she added.

Orchard Road widening

A project to widen the path of the south side of Orchard Road from Ogden Court east to the High Line Canal could wrap up later this year. That area sits west of University Boulevard.

The City of Centennial is working with the Southeast Metro Stormwater Authority and a design consultant to add curb, gutter, sidewalk, storm sewer infrastructure and an additional turn lane on Orchard Road, according to the city’s website.

Different segments of that part of Orchard Road appear to be undergoing different sets of improvements, according to the website.

The city is looking to finish design by June and to finish construction by December, Wittern said.

Project in the east

The Colorado Department of Transportation, or CDOT, and contractor Ralph L. Wadsworth began work in February 2021 to improve several sections of roadway along Parker Road from the E-470 toll highway to Arapahoe Road, according to CDOT’s website.

That included replacement of damaged concrete panels, curb ramp improvements, signal work and “roadway joint sealing” to minimize the effects of surface water infiltration, the website says.

A “winter slowdown” was put in place for the project to keep the public and work crews safe during winter weather conditions, the website says.

The project was to reduce construction operations beginning Jan. 14 and resume the remaining construction in April.

Centennial Colorado, Arapahoe Road, construction, University Boulevard, Orchard Road, County Line Road, Ellis Arnold


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