CDOT should put in traffic light at Copper Mountain |

CDOT should put in traffic light at Copper Mountain

Memo to the CDOT: Copper Mountain wants a traffic light. Everybody agrees the light is needed at Copper Road and Highway 91. The resort will contribute money. Eliminate the holdups. Make it happen.


The Colorado Department of Transportation was asked to install a traffic light in 1997 but found the problematic intersection did not score high enough to get one.

Since then, the resort has offered money and even dreamed about a roundabout as a way to slow speeding Highway 91 traffic so people can get in and out of Copper Road safely – especially bicyclists and pedestrians.

County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom, the county’s bad boy when it comes to whipping up on CDOT, told Copper officials Monday the agency doesn’t think resort owner Intrawest and the Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District are of like mind on a solution.

Not so, said officials from the resort and metro district.

“We’ll take one or the other,” resort operations vice president Jim Spenst said of a light or roundabout.

The key to a new light is regulating it to reflect traffic flow during busy times and offseasons. Intrawest Colorado senior vice president David Barry said that is already possible because he’s seen it at Winter Park.

Arguments against a light might come from workers bees commuting back and forth between Leadville and greater Summit County who don’t want to be slowed.

In a sense, that’s the point for a light. We know that crossing Highway 91 is often like trying to cross the flight deck of an aircraft carrier with F-14s taking off. Whether by car, bike or foot, you have to do your own zooming to make the other side.

Copper Fire Chief Scott Randolph said the number of near misses at the intersection is a recognized sign a safety solution is needed before tragedy strikes.

The intersection, we should note, is a key link in the Summit County bike path system, and it is the most dangerous.

It’s time for CDOT to act.

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