Motorists traveling the afternoon of Monday, May 19, between Frisco and Breckenridge may have been unpleasantly surprised to find themselves sitting in stopped traffic on Colorado Highway 9.
The delay lasted approximately 10 to 15 minutes, said Summit County assistant manager Thad Noll, who was among the travelers stopped in traffic.
Noll was driving from Breckenridge to Frisco and said cars were backed up beginning at Tiger Road to about The Church at Agape Outpost. On Tuesday he quashed rumors that the delay is somehow an indication of a full highway closure to come.
“They can’t close the highway because people wouldn’t be able to get back and forth without going through Leadville,” Noll said. “Yesterday was an anomaly. I know because I was in it.”
Jason Laabs, project engineer with United Research Services, said traffic was stopped to allow asphalt trucks into the construction zone.
The trucks were providing asphalt for a handful of paving projects right at the edge of Highway 9 and could not drop the road material without stopping traffic.
Although Laabs reiterated that there will not be any full highway closures this summer, he did say residents and visitors should expect brief, periodic delays through the duration of construction.
“We did such a good job last year without one delay that I think we may have set the bar a little too high with the traveling public,” Laabs said. “The expectation is that there will be more delays than we had last season, but they shouldn’t be significant.”
In the event future traffic holdups do exceed what might be considered a reasonable period of time, Laabs said workers will pause whatever they’re doing to move vehicles through the construction zone to ensure backups do not become severe.
In terms of a project update, Laabs said the contractor is a little ahead of schedule thanks to mostly pleasant weather in April and so far in May. Crews expect to reach their first milestone during the second or third week of July when they complete infrastructure upgrades to the southbound side of the bridge at Revette Drive. However, residents shouldn’t expect normal traffic flow to return to that area of the construction zone, as workers will then have to lay fresh pavement, Laabs said.
Laabs also said the contractor is on pace to complete construction in September, as originally planned.
“Things are moving along,” Laabs said. “We’re rockin’ and rollin’ up here.”