CDOT announces changes to traffic flows
SUMMIT COUNTY – On the heels of a heated Monday meeting with the county commissioners, Colorado Department of Transportation officials Thursday announced the agency will guarantee more consistent traffic flow on the Highway 9 north construction project.
The $14 million project, which runs for six miles from mile marker 109 to 115 north of Silverthorne, has created headaches for commuters facing unpredictable delays of 45 minutes or more. Drivers also complain the area is poorly maintained.
Monday, three CDOT engineers listened for an hour and a half as residents and county commissioners voiced their concerns – sometimes to the point of shouting – about the condition of the construction area.
While CDOT’s press release doesn’t address the maintenance issue, it does promise changes in traffic flow, which County Commissioner Tom Long said was the biggest problem.
According to the release, the following changes take effect Monday:
* Delays will not exceed 25 minutes between 6:30 and 8 a.m;
* Maximum delays will not exceed 45 minutes between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.; and
* Delays will not exceed 20 minutes between 7 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.
To ensure CDOT keeps those promises, a traffic monitor will drive through the entire construction zone during daytime hours to supervise delay times. If traffic delays exceed the stated times, the contractor will be notified immediately and ordered to modify or stop operations to reduce traffic stops to the allowable limit.
Two additional flaggers also will be added to the project at the first stop point. They will be advised continually of the current delay times and will walk the traffic queue, informing drivers of that time.
In yet another effort to reduce delay times, CDOT will experiment with work zone that has one stop instead of two.
“We recognize things have been less than wonderful out there, and we’re trying to do everything we can,” said CDOT program engineer Brian Pinkerton. “Certainly at our meeting Monday, there was pretty unanimous concern from the county commissioners. That’s part of the driving force (in these changes). We’re trying to do everything we can to satisfy them.”
Pinkerton also said the intensity of the work will ease soon.
“We’re close to being through the worst of it,” he said. “Within the next two to three weeks, it will be dramatically better.”
Currently, the primary work zone is about four miles long. By Monday, that area will be reduced to three miles, and on Oct. 7, it will drop to two miles.
As the project length shortens, delay times also will lessen, according to the release.
Contractor PCL is working on the project from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. Night work from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday, but the after-hours construction will end Oct. 4.
The project, which began last summer, won’t be finished until next fall. This year, Pinkerton said, work is slated to end around Nov. 1.
“If we were to get a nice fall, the contractor may choose to work even longer, but it will end approximately Nov. 1,” he said.
The project has not been easy, Pinkerton said.
“It’s extremely challenging from the perspective we’ve got a mountain on one side, a river on the other and we’re only dealing with two lanes,” he said. “It’s really the narrowness of the road that is such a challenge, because we really have nowhere to put traffic. If we were reconstructing a four-lane, we could move cars over.”
Pinkerton said the changes will cost CDOT “a little bit” but said it would not add up to “a substantial amount of money.”
Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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