The Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration last week released an environmental assessment for the Iron Springs shortcut and is now accepting public comments.
The proposed project would reroute Colorado Highway 9 between Summit High School and St. Anthony Summit Medical Center through a portion of the Iron Springs conservation easement. In October 2013 Summit County received $17.5 million from CDOT’s Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships program. The grant provides full funding for the project.
The environmental assessment process is guided by the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires a 30-day public comment period prior to CDOT and FHA officials making a final decision about the proposal. The Iron Springs environmental assessment was released Wednesday, July 9. The public comment period ends Friday, Aug. 8.
The environmental assessment is available on CDOT’s website. The documents may also be viewed locally at the Main Library, County Commons Building, 0037 County Road 1005 in Frisco, and at the South Branch Library, 504 Airport Road in Breckenridge.
Comments will be accepted in person during a public hearing scheduled from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at the Summit County Community and Senior Center, 0083 Nancy’s Place in Frisco.
Those who are unable to attend the hearing may submit written comments online at the project’s website, by fax to (303) 512-5675 or by mail to CDOT Region 3, c/o Grant Anderson, P.O. Box 2236, Frisco, CO 80443.
CDOT and FHA officials will consider the comments and draft a decision document, estimated to be completed before the end of the year.
The Iron Springs project proposes a realignment of a 1.3-mile stretch of Highway 9 south of Frisco. The project would divert Highway 9 away from Leslie’s Curve, a dangerous compound bend in the roadway near the shore of Lake Dillon that is infamous locally as the site of traffic crashes. The project would shorten Highway 9 by about .4 of a mile.
The project also outlines a realignment of a portion of the Blue River Bikeway, which would move closer to Lake Dillon along Highway 9’s current configuration. The U.S. Forest Service Dickey Day Use Parking Lot would move west to provide safer access at the lighted intersection of Highway 9 and Recreation Way. A proposed new Dickey trail would connect the new parking lot and the realigned bikeway, as well as provide shoreline access.
The project is estimated to take two summer construction seasons to complete and is slated to begin in 2016. CDOT has a firm project deadline of Dec. 31, 2017.
Should the Iron Springs project not get final approval, Highway 9 would be widened along its existing route, as previously approved by CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration in the 2004 SH 9 Record of Decision.
The alternative has already moved through NEPA’s environmental assessment and public comment processes, and does not require additional action.