Letter to the editor: Wildernest drivers must be considered in on-ramp redesign
Part of the traffic problem/gridlock in Silverthorne is due to excess traffic coming out of Wildernest to westbound Interstate 70, clogging up Colorado Highway 9 and the westbound I-70 on-ramp as well as the steep I-70 westbound lanes.
It can be removed from this area entirely by creating a traffic circle/ westbound on-ramp next to the Wildernest center. By moving the westbound I-70 lanes into the present median closer to the eastbound lanes from Highway 9 to the scenic overlook, this creates the flat land on the westbound shoulder needed for the new on-ramp. Yes, a short bridge would need to be constructed from Wildernest Road to the I-70 road shoulder, but the major terrain obstacle of where to put the on-ramp due to the present drop-off on the side of the westbound lanes would be solved.
This takes a lot of traffic off the steep westbound on-ramp and also removes it from the backup on Wildernest Road stretching from Highway 9 all the way to the Wildernest Road/Buffalo Drive intersection in front of Lowes.
It also makes the traffic entering I-70 safer by entering where I-70 is steeper and traffic is slower than at the flatter section where the present on-ramp is.
It also reduces air pollution from eliminating vehicles having to drive downhill from the Wildernest center to the Highway 9 on-ramp then reverse direction and travel back uphill to where they came from adding excess mileage to their drive.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has resisted this idea previously, but it really doesn’t have a realistic solution to the present-day gridlock without doing this.
This plan needs to be part of the answer because the present traffic problem requires removing some traffic in addition to redesigning the intersection itself.
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