Vail Pass restrooms closed indefinitely |

Vail Pass restrooms closed indefinitely

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – People who bike or hike from the top of Vail Pass will have access to running water again in the next few days. But the rest area may close for a few days until the work is finished.

The restroom/emergency phone building at the state rest area atop the pass has been closed for the past few weeks because the rest area’s water-treatment plant has been closed for renovations. Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Bob Wilson said the plant needed a new set of water filters and a new pump.

Over the weeks the restroom building has been closed, several portable toilets were brought to Vail Pass to keep the rest area open and able to accommodate travelers in need.

The idea was to pull out the portable toilets when the restroom building reopened. That may happen, if final water-quality tests are acceptable.

“They’re recharging the system and flushing lines now,” Wilson said Friday.

But the portable toilets are coming out whether or not the water system is finished, Wilson said. There simply isn’t money in the budget to leave them in place much longer.

“If that’s the case, we’ll have to shut down the whole rest area until the water system’s done,” Wilson said.

The water system has closed the rest area a few times over the past several years. Wilson said the Vail Pass facility is one of a handful in the state that’s hard to maintain for one reason or another.

“We have one near Burlington that’s the same way,” he said.

But the rest area at Vail Pass is a busy place. The area was fairly busy on a visit on a recent weekday afternoon, with people starting bike rides and hikes, a few folks enjoying picnics at more than 10,500 feet elevation and others pulling over to answer nature’s call.

The portable toilets didn’t bother Norman and Kay Ponder, of Baytown, Texas, who were staying in Avon and had come to the top of the pass for a little sightseeing.

Kay Ponder wondered if the portable toilets might create a less-than-inviting impression for travelers.

“We have some beautiful rest areas at home, especially along U.S. 59,” Norman Ponder said.

While Kay Ponder said she didn’t much mind using a portable toilet, she did say the one she used was out of paper.

“They might want to warn people about that,” she said.

While the rest area might be closed for a time, Wilson said the closure wouldn’t last for more than a few days.

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