Breckenridge leaders discuss congestion as town prepares for roadwork over the summer |

Breckenridge leaders discuss congestion as town prepares for roadwork over the summer

Cars fill the parking lot at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Feb. 9. The Breckenridge Town Council discussed ways to manage overcrowding at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Photo by Tripp Fay/For the Summit Daily News

Breckenridge town leaders are looking at ways to reduce congestion as they prepare for a summer with heavy roadwork.

Town staff members gave an update on upcoming roadwork projects for the summer during the Breckenridge Town Council’s work session meeting Tuesday, Feb. 22. The two most impactful construction projects are the addition of a roundabout at the intersection of Park and Watson avenues and culvert work on Coyne Valley Road, Town Engineer Shannon Smith said.

The Watson Avenue roundabout project has been in the works since 2017 as a way to ease congestion at the intersection that is adjacent to the north and south parking lots at Breckenridge Ski Resort. On Tuesday, the Town Council unanimously approved the second reading of a resolution to donate two town-owned parcels of land to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Though it will ease congestion when it’s finished, the project will cause delays throughout its construction period from April into the summer. Town officials don’t plan to do a full road closure at anytime during the project, so people will still be able to drive through the intersection.

From April through August, the town will close Coyne Valley Road for the culvert project, redirecting people affected by the closure to Airport Road. The town is also planning to do overlay work on Main Street from April through May, which could cause heightened congestion as drivers navigate the roundabout construction, as well.

Smith said the town plans to have workers get through the overlay construction as quickly as possible to minimize added traffic during the summer months. The town plans to put out more communication with specifics on how exactly each road will be affected in the coming weeks, Smith said.

However, council members urged Smith and other town staff to be vigilant about the communication so that all visitors and residents will know how they are impacted.

“We’ve got to be messaging this thing to death,” Mayor Eric Mamula said. “People have got to know what we’re doing.”

Mamula added that the council and town need to be prepared for pushback on the construction. The conversation about roadwork projects contributed to an overall discussion on how the council can address congestion and overcrowding throughout the town.

Town Manager Rick Holman said he’d like to have an in-depth work session with the council to discuss congestion issues. He asked that the council provide more feedback on which data points they’d like to see in order to develop solutions to the problem.

Overall, the council members said they’d like to know if the issue of overcrowding is reflected in the numbers of people visiting the county each weekend. While the town is used to hearing reports on the number of drivers who traveled through the Eisenhower Tunnel over a period of time or traffic counts on Colorado Highway 9, they haven’t been able to discern how many people are actually making it to Breckenridge and staying there more than an afternoon.

Mamula said he’d like to see more data on the number of skiers who pass through the resort each day, which is data that would be managed by Vail Resorts, a figure the company considers proprietary.

“If you find out that they’re on-mountain experience is getting worse because of overcrowding, that’s a sign that something needs to change there,” he said.

Council member Erin Gigliello said she’d like to see surveys sent out to the community to gather more feedback on what locals and visitors are experiencing. She said she’s heard from locals who struggle to get restaurant reservations and are frustrated with long lines.

“Overall, people are feeling like they don’t fit in our community any more, and that’s what’s making it feel like it’s overcrowded,” Gigliello said.

The council will revisit the discussion at upcoming meetings after town staff gathers requested data.

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