Growth signals: Target triggers need for another traffic light
SILVERTHORNE – Silverthorne will see its eighth traffic light next month when a new signal goes up to help traffic flow smoothly when the new Target opens.
“The intent is to turn it on the first week of March to correspond with Target’s opening,” said Silverthorne public works director Bill Linfield. “It’s one of those necessary evils, I’m afraid.”
Target is set for a March 9 grand opening.
With the addition of the Target light, Silverthorne will have eight signals from Annie Road to Little Beaver Trail. A total of 11 signals then will guide traffic through the two-mile section of Highway 9 that runs from Silverthorne through Dillon.
For those who live in Willowbrook, a mostly-locals subdivision at the north end of Silverthorne, the additional light will make the drive to City Market and all points south a bit longer.
“Another light will stink, but I guess it can’t be helped,” said Willowbrook resident Dave Nichols. “It makes sense they’re going to have to put one in there, but I definitely don’t want to have to drive through another stop light.”
“My knee jerk reaction would be negative,” agreed 10-year county resident Tommy Shreve, another Willowbrook homeowner. “I feel like we have enough lights on this stretch. I realize the need for traffic control with a big-box retailer there, but that’s a lot of lights for a little nickel-and-dime town.
“That’s just the way it goes. If this wasn’t a nice place, a lot of people wouldn’t want to come up here.”
Part of the reason Silverthorne is so signal-heavy is that the state highway that travels through it is also the closest thing the town now has to a main street, said Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Stacey Stegman.
“It’s the physical characteristics of the community itself,” she said. “Our goal is to provide as safe an intersection as possible, and to keep people mobile. It’s a difficult balance in a community such as that.
“The difficulty is that CDOT doesn’t make land-use decisions to allow or not allow development. That’s at the local level. So we’re often forced to react to those decisions.”
The Target signal isn’t likely to be the last. The school district plans to build a new elementary school at Highway 9 and Hamilton Creek Road, and district officials have already said they plan to install a light at that intersection. If the town approves plans for the Safeway commercial project at Ruby Ranch Road and Highway 9, that development also will require a traffic signal.
Silverthorne police spokeswoman Verna Pottle doesn’t think the new signal at Annie Road will delay through traffic significantly.
“CDOT has worked pretty hard at trying to synchronize those,” she said. “I’ve actually been able to go all the way through town to Little Beaver at 5 p.m. and never hit a red light,” she said. “Then there are times when you hit every one of them.”
Poles and mastarms for the new signal should arrive in about two weeks, Linfield said. Construction of the light will be done about a week after that.
“Then we have to have it in flash mode for a minimum of three days before it can be turned on,” he said. “The light will be green for the highway except when traffic comes up from the (Annie Road) side, which will activate the signal. Even then, it will still be on a time element so somebody will have to wait maybe a minute and a half (at most).”
Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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