CDOT give highway update |

CDOT give highway update

summitd daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Colorado Department of Transportation will continue to work on the widening of Highway 9 north of Breckenridge until the end of this month. At a recent meeting with the Summit Board of County Commissioners, CDOT officials gave an update on the project, noting that paving of the additional lanes won’t happen until next year. In the spring, the final grading will take place, followed by asphalt and installation of sound walls. The planned completion for this phase of the project is early to mid August.

For the next phases, commissioners asked about what would happen at the intersection of Fairview and Hwy. 9 – possibly a candidate for a roundabout. CDOT’s Mark Vessley said it’s a “challenging intersection” and that plans for what to do there are still in the works. Plans for the widening phase between Agape church and Tiger Road are ready to go, he said.

Widening of the section of Highway 9 between the high school and Frisco is a longer-term and expensive project, Vessley said. Since the corridor along the lake isn’t wide enough to accommodate four lanes, one option is to convert the current two-way road to just northbound traffic and build two lanes for south-bound cars through the open space south of the current road – an area referred to as “Iron Springs.” Yet another option, Vessley said, is to abandon the current road altogether and make a “straight shot” four-lane highway through Iron Springs from the high school to the south end of Frisco.

The planning is complicated by the fact that the Iron Springs area is comprised of U.S. Forest Service Land and county open space – although Vessley said preliminary conversations with the Forest Service have revealed a preference for the four-lanes through Iron Springs alignment. County officials agreed with the CDOT folks this phase of the highway widening is at least two to four years out just for the planning process.

For Interstate 70, the paving between Vail Pass and Silverthorne is expected to be wrapped up this year, weather permitting.

“We need two or three good weather weeks,” said Vessley. “We’re ahead of schedule.”

CDOT Region 1 director Tony DeVito gave an update on the “FASTER” projects – a statewide initiative for safety improvements using money from the federal stimulus bill. Region 1, which includes Summit County, has some $15.6 million to spend. In addition to paving projects, DeVito said many of the barriers and safety rails along the Interstate will be replaced in the coming year. Many of them, he said, have reached the end of their “service life” and will be replaced with higher, stronger barriers.

Commissioners also had questions about the I-70 interchange at Silverthorne. Commissioner Thomas Davidson said the interchange “doesn’t work anymore.” DeVito said it’s on the list for possible design work in 2011 and construction in 2012, though he cautioned political winds can change any such planning in a hurry.

“What we’re trying to do is put together a list so if FASTER is looking at being repealed, we can say ‘This is what you’ll lose,'” he said.

Another issue in play for the Silverthorne exchange is the ongoing environmental assessment underway for the whole corridor. It’s likely, DeVito said, that that work on a single interchange like that would not be affected by the assessment, but until the study is completed, nothing can go forward.

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