There are a lot of moving pieces in the plan to expand and relocate Highway 9 between Summit High School and the Summit Medical Center. While nothing has been finalized, the project is moving forward.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has been working on the highway corridor between Frisco and Breckenridge since 2005, mainly widening it into four lanes, starting in Breck and working back toward Frisco.
Initially, the project called simply for the expansion of the highway between the high school and the hospital. Things changed and now the plan, which is still in the approval process, calls for the realignment of the highway to run over the hill between the high school and hospital where the recpath currently is located. The idea is for the highway to take the place of the recpath and for the recpath to go along the lake where the highway is now.
This is where the town of Frisco comes in. Realigning the highway and changing the recpath will impact what is currently the Dickey Day Use Trailhead. If the highway project is approved, the trailhead parking lot and trail access will need to be moved. The proposal states that the parking lot and access will move from national forest land, where it currently resides, to land owned by the town of Frisco.
At a work session before the council meeting Tuesday, the Frisco Town Council stated its willingness to allow CDOT to construct a new trailhead and parking lot that would access the Frisco trail system and connect it with the trail that already runs around Dillon Reservoir. The new trailhead would be placed along Recreation Way, near the Frisco Adventure Park and the peninsula. The new trailhead will still allow access to the Dickey Day Use site, which will be re-vegetated into a trail.
"One of the important things is working on the Lake Dillon bike loop, so that loop will continue around the lake and it will tie into the Swan Mountain recpath and the recpath to the Dam Road," said Frisco Mayor Gary Wilkinson. "It will definitely help provide that connection."
There are still details that need to be ironed out, as well as the final approval of the overall project, before anything happens, both with the trailhead and the highway.
"The meeting with the town of Frisco, they were discussing the bike path piece, that's just one small component, where we're trying to combine access for the Dickey Day Use parking at the peninsula recreation area," said CDOT engineer Grant Anderson.
In addition to connecting to the other trails, another benefit of moving the trailhead from the Dickey Day Use Area is keeping trail users away from the busy road, Anderson said. "Getting rid of that access off the highway improves the safety."
Anderson said that as the highway project plans progress there will be more discussion, not only among stakeholders such as CDOT, the Forest Service, Summit County and the town of Frisco, but the public as well.
"There's going to be a public process coming up where we share all these findings and ask for public input this summer," Anderson said. "That will be when we really roll this project out for public comment. There's a lot more to come."