Parents call for Swan Mountain safety improvements |

Parents call for Swan Mountain safety improvements

Summit Daily file photo/Mark Fox

BRECKENRIDGE – In the winter, the trek over Swan Mountain Road can be a treacherous drive.

But one area, the stretch at the base of the pass near Keystone where a curve in the road is bordered by water on both sides, has long made Summit Cove parents of high schoolers particularly nervous.

“With the water on both sides of the road it is more of an emotional issue or place,” said Tim Scanlan, a Summit Cove father of three girls. “Having eight or nine months out of the year of potential slick roads, you’re always worried as a parent of a teen driver.”

The problem has now joined the unfinished recpath atop the county’s list of issues needing attention on Swan Mountain Road.

Officials and community members are discussing the possibility of widening the road shoulder by filling in part of the pond on the south side of the road. Assistant county manager Thad Noll said the expanded land bank would give sliding cars space to recover.

Some parents would like to see a guardrail installed to keep drivers from sliding into the water, but county officials say that might create an even more dangerous situation.

“The goal would be to do something that makes that curve safer without adding a new hazard,” Noll said. “People have been worried about it for a long time, but the dynamic of that section is tougher. We’re cautious of creating a (snow) drift there or a head-on collision problem.”

Noll said cars that lose control on the curve could hit a guardrail and bounce off into oncoming traffic.

But parents say a guardrail works for in a similar area along the Dam Road and is still, in their opinion, the best option.

“It’s a choice of two evils, maybe at this point,” said Steve Hebert, a Summit Cove resident and father of four. “I think if a car goes in the lake it’s almost certain death.”

There have been 62 car crashes on Swan Mountain Road in the last four years, three of which took place in the area where parents would like to see a guardrail, Noll said. None of the accidents resulted in injuries.

Though Summit Cove parents have discussed their concerns over the last several years, they only began to push for action on the stretch of road recently after a car went into the water, Hebert said. A few parents are working with county officials to find a solution for the stretch of road.

Expanding the road shoulder in the area would be a fairly straightforward in-house project, though the county has not determined how much any of the proposed options would cost.

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