Here’s what you need to know about the construction on the 16th Street Mall starting next month
Most importantly: You’ll still be able to walk around.
Construction at the 16th Street Mall will start next month, but it likely won’t affect your ability to walk along the usually busy corridor.
The first major upgrade in four decades for the downtown strip will cost $149 million, and while construction doesn’t start for a few more weeks, some preconstruction utility work is starting this month, between Arapahoe and Champa streets, according to the city’s transit department.
Construction on the west end of the Mall is scheduled to start next month, moving east down the corridor to Broadway, with project completion in late 2024.
The city anticipates work on weekdays will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., while weekend work will take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
City transit department spokesperson Nancy Kuhn said the exact construction start date next month isn’t set and will depend on the weather. The Mall hasn’t had any major upgrades since it opened in 1982.
“Improvements are needed to address the Mall’s deteriorating infrastructure which frequently disrupts the transit system, inhibits safety, and costs more than a million annually to maintain,” Kuhn said in an email.
The project will add new granite pavers with improved surface traction and drainage; move transit lanes to the center of the Mall, which will mean removing the median between buses on some blocks; and create wide pedestrian walkways and new amenity zones for better safety. Utilities will be upgraded and new trees will be added, but the city says the upgrades will stay true to legendary architect I.M. Pei’s design.
The construction will prompt the free RTD MallRide to detour around 15th and 17th streets. Starting next month and through summer 2023, pedestrians can expect open but narrower walkways in front of storefronts and buildings, since most of the work will focus on the center of the mall. Work on the sidewalks and business fronts isn’t scheduled to start until next year.
Denver City Council approved a contract in March 2021 with PCL Construction Services to complete the work. Public discussions about improving the Mall have been ongoing for years.
The city is hosting a virtual open house on March 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. to provide more information on the project.
This story originally misstated when and where construction would end. It’s been fixed, and we apologize for the error.