CDOT approves traffic signal for planned S’thorne elementary |

CDOT approves traffic signal for planned S’thorne elementary

SILVERTHORNE – The Summit School District is now just one step away from getting the land it needs to build a new Silverthorne Elementary School.

This week, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) eliminated one of the last conditions listed by the town of Silverthorne when it approved the installation of a traffic light at Highway 9 and Hamilton Creek Road. The school is planned on the northwest corner of that intersection on a town-owned property called Cottonwood Park.

The town agreed to give the school six acres on the south end of the property, but before that transaction could happen, the district was ordered to comply with several conditions. Getting CDOT’s approval for a traffic signal was the condition many officials considered key to the entire deal, particularly since many area residents said they fear for the safety of students attempting to cross the highway.

Now, the school district has one more condition to meet: acquiring a small portion of land from adjacent landowner David Ray that will round out the site. Negotiations to purchase Ray’s property are nearly complete, Summit Schools Superintendent Wes Smith said during a Wednesday school board meeting.

The town of Silverthorne has also agreed to give six acres of land to the school district in a complicated trade. Smith believes that land will be transferred to the school “in the next few days.”

The district has accepted an $8.7 million bid from contractor Adolfson and Peterson for construction of the school. The school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2004.

With the addition of the new light, a total of nine traffic signals will dot Highway 9 through Silverthorne. Two months ago, the town added an eighth signal at Annie Road to control the flow of traffic from the new Target store.

However, a signal progression analysis shows the newly approved Hamilton Creek Road light won’t adversely affect traffic flow through the rest of town. Hamilton Creek Road is about a mile north of Annie Road. While no one wants another traffic signal on Highway 9, public works director Bill Linfield said the school light is necessary.

“Everybody wants the kids to be safe,” said Silverthorne public works director Bill Linfield. “It was certainly the town and school district’s opinion that the only way to make them safe was to put in a signal.”

Town officials anticipate the addition of two more signals between Annie and Hamilton Creek roads, however – one at Ruby Ranch Road and another at Golden Eagle Road. Neither signal would be installed until and unless significant development occurs in those areas, Linfield said.

Smith, who is retiring this summer, said he’s relieved to see the loose ends associated with the elementary school tied up.

“This is one of the things I wanted to make sure happened on my watch,” he said. “I’ve been worrying over this one for lots of reasons for the last several months.”

Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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