CDOT moving to night construction in Silverthorne
SILVERTHORNE – Irate drivers – most of them sitting in barely moving traffic – besieged the Silverthorne Town Hall Tuesday with about 80 phone calls.
“They were angry,” said Silverthorne Police Department spokeswoman Verna Pottle. “They were verbally abusive and swearing.”
But the construction in Silverthorne that created chaos for miles Tuesday wasn’t the fault of the town. It was caused by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
CDOT is, however, taking steps to change the conditions that gave rise to Tuesday’s problems.
“The rotomilling work has been switched to nighttime,” said Bob Wilson, CDOT spokesman. “It will continue that way for about a week. They’re also taking precautions to make sure they don’t close one lane in both directions at the same time.
“Whenever we have a situation like that, we do speak to the contractor and revise our game plan to fix what’s broken and try to make sure that doesn’t occur again. We try to do our best not to cause major traffic problems.”
For the past week, CDOT workers have been removing asphalt from Blue River Parkway in preparation for repaving the area. Work extended Tuesday into the Interstate 70 interchange area, an intensely busy intersection, and project supervisors elected to shut Blue River Parkway down to one lane in both directions through the length of the project – including the interchange. That reduced the normally two-lane, westbound Silverthorne off-ramp down to one lane.
Traffic backed up onto westbound I-70 for more than a mile, with commuters reporting 45 minute stop-and-go drives from Frisco to Silverthorne.
Wilson said CDOT supervisors realized there was a problem about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday but couldn’t get traffic control people in place quickly enough. Traffic snarls continued past 5:30 p.m. The torrential rains that fell Tuesday afternoon didn’t help, Wilson said.
While project engineer Kevin Brown was not on the job site Tuesday, Wilson didn’t point a finger at any individual.
“It doesn’t sound like something that had anything to do with the personnel,” he said. “It was just the type of conditions that occurred.”
Traffic appeared to be flowing smoothly Wednesday morning.
“We haven’t had a single complaint,” said a relieved Pottle.
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