CDOT proposes four alternatives to improve Highway 9 safety |

CDOT proposes four alternatives to improve Highway 9 safety

Amanda Roberson

FARMER’S KORNER – Locals got a chance to examine – and comment on – proposed changes to Colo. Highway 9 at a public forum Wednesday.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been examining alternatives to improve the safety of the highway between Frisco and Breckenridge, and engineers have come up with four possibilities.

Carter Burgess, an independent consultant CDOT hired for the project, presented the four alternative plans at the meeting. Monitors and transcribers were on hand to record comments, and citizens were invited to fill out comment cards.

The forum was part of the project’s 45-day public comment period, which ends July 15. Citizens’ comments will be included in CDOT’s final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) report, which will be published this winter.

Three of the alternative plans involve expanding the highway to four lanes; two require building a 36-foot median. The third requires building a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane. The fourth plan enhances the existing two lanes.

After examining the plans, citizens voiced various concerns.

“An HOV lane would exacerbate problems people have accessing neighborhoods,” said Elizabeth Black, a resident of Lakeview Meadows in Breckenridge. “HOV lanes were meant for cities, not the Frisco-to-Breckenridge stretch.”

Among written comments posted on the wall was “No HOV lanes. This is not Aspen. HOV lanes increase accidents.”

Sam McCleneghan favors the enhanced two-lane alternative. “Four lanes would increase speed and make the area look like an interstate,” he said.

“Something has to be done to improve the safety and consistency of the current highway. Going from two lanes to four to two again makes it very dangerous,” said Vicky Valar.

“A four-lane alternative with a reduced median would lessen the impact of right-of-way takings without creating the interstate look of a 36-foot median.”

CDOT’s next step is to meet with planning commissions in Breckenridge and Frisco to get feedback, according to CDOT project manager Lisa Kassels.

CDOT’s current timeline for the project is to select and publish a preferred alternative this coming winter, hold a public hearing and publish a final EIS in winter/spring 2003, and publish the final decision next spring.

“We want to work with the community to choose a plan that matches its needs and desires,” said Kassels.

On the Web

CDOT’s four alternative plans to improve Highway 9 are online at http://www.hwy9friscotobreck. com. Viewers also can e-mail their suggestions and comments through the site.

The public comment

period ends July 15.

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