Crossroads of a very busy intersection?

Journal/Sam Green

Cars and a pedestrian navigate the intersection of Mildred and Montezuma Friday.

By Journal staff writer

The intersection at Montezuma Avenue and Mildred Road has been identified by the city of Cortez and the Cortez Police Department as a problem area in need of improvement.

The busy intersection has been the site of occasional accidents in the past. Not only does that corner host heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, drivers wanting to turn north or south off Montezuma block the vision of drivers wanting only to pass straight through the intersection.

At this time, the city has not committed to any engineering solutions.

“We are only beginning to analyze this intersection, it is a project in its infancy,” the city said on its website.

The city said that though a roundabout “is one idea that will be considered, several other solutions will also be analyzed, such as four-way stops or traffic lights.”

“The problem intersection has been an area with “a long accident history,” said Jack Nickerson, the public works director for the city of Cortez said.

There have been “several accidents causing damage to vehicles, and a few resulting in injury,” Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane said. “There have been no fatalities at that intersection.”

Due to budgetary constraints, the city is championing awareness of the intersection until funds can be allocated.

It will be years before residents will see possible change to the intersection.

“We’re five years from doing anything about this,” Nickerson said.

The basic process will be for the city to utilize a traffic engineer to analyze the issues at the Montezuma-Mildred intersection and outline different solutions on how best to safely move both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The city will be sending out a “request for proposal,” which will be considered in the city’s budget in the fall of 2012, Nickerson said.

Upon receipt, the city will have public meetings to discuss the preferred alternatives along with the reasoning and cost behind each.

Any solution determined by Cortez City Council will then need to be budgeted for future years.

The Colorado Department of Transportation will not be assisting in this project, Nickerson said.

Until the project can be prioritized, Lane encourages motorists and pedestrians to take special care at Montezuma Avenue and Mildred Road intersection.

“Be conscious of the intersection,” Lane said. “Inattention has been the reason for many of the accidents. Just be careful.”

Drivers should “take the extra time to evaluate the intersection and the oncoming traffic that may or may not be present,” Lane said. “Exercise defensive driving.”

If there are comments or concerns on this proposed project, contact the Public Works Department through the city of Cortez in the City Service Center by calling 565-7320 or by emailing and put “Roundabout” in the subject line.

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