Silverthorne eyes neighborhood connections as a way to ease congestion caused by out-of-town traffic

The Smith Ranch neighborhood in Silverthorne is pictured Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. The neighborhood is located in Silverthorne, which is currently considering connecting neighborhoods like this one to mitigate traffic and congestion.
Lindsey Toomer/Summit Daily News archive

Silverthorne leaders came together on Wednesday to discuss potential projects to ease congestion in town. 

In recent years, public works employees and consultants have developed the Transportation Master Plan, which outlines potential roadwork projects that the town could pursue as well as traffic analyses. He said that the projects proposed do not completely solve traffic, necessarily, but are a guide on how to better manage it. 

“Lo and behold, it says we’re going to have a lot of traffic,” Daugherty said. “A lot of the traffic, though, that we’re going to have is outside-of-our-jurisdiction traffic. It doesn’t generate and stop within our jurisdiction. It comes from outside or even through our jurisdiction. That analysis tells us that we’re going to have traffic problems. The one thing it does tell us is that if you were to try to reduce densities and whatnot, to attack this problem, that’s not going to have a big impact on the traffic.”

Assistant town manager Mark Leidal said that the neighborhood-to-neighborhood connections in Silverthorne are something that the Town Council focused on at its last council retreat. The first priority is variable message signage, which are signs that can be changed remotely and synchronized with state-operated signals. The second priority is the Exit 205 diverging diamond interchange. 

Other high priorities include an extension of Adams Avenue north to Willowbrook Road to increase pedestrian and cyclist connections along with plans to potentially add a traffic signal at Ruby Ranch Road so that pedestrians can connect to the Blue River. Council members noted that one potential solution could be to remove the red light at Annie Road near Target and add one to Ruby Ranch Road, since few people actually use the left turn light to get to Target. That project would have to have a partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“Certainly, the Transportation Plan is not only for cars but for pedestrians and bikes and everything that we possibly can think of,” Leidal said. “I think that’s one key thing to keep in mind.”

Leidal also noted that if the town had a grocery store on Smith Ranch Road, it would save people trips through the interchange and lessen traffic issues. He said there were other projects the town could look into to improve traffic, but he said those would be addressed over time.

Some projects will need to be cooperative with CDOT, which manages Interstate 70 and Colorado Highway 9. Daugherty said that the master plan had been sent to CDOT, and town leaders often reference it during conversations with the department. 

Daugherty added that the development of a regional transportation plan that involves nearby municipalities would also be beneficial to the town and other communities on the I-70 corridor through the mountains. He said that larger plans like that could attract grant funding from federal sources, as well.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.