Almost a year after talks began, Eagle County is still exploring options for relocating or reorganizing a 15-acre rest area in Edwards.
The Colorado Department of Transportation owns the property and has indicated it is OK with the idea as long as the same number of truck parking spaces and services are available between Dotsero and Vail Pass. The county has been looking at potential sites to relocate the rest area, which would likely be done with a land swap or outright purchase.
Commissioner Jon Stavney has said that the roundabouts in Edwards have made the current location less convenient for truckers and that there might be a better use for that land and a better place or places for the rest area facilities.
"It's a prime spot in the middle of Edwards," he said. "There's a nice river corridor there. Most people in our community have never set foot on that property - I would invite them to see it for themselves and imagine what it could be."
Eagle County Engineer Eva Wilson met with the commissioners Tuesday and updated them about the latest findings for rest area possibilities.
"We did some investigating with CDOT and community leaders to see if any community would entertain a truck stop," Wilson said. "No one will."
The county fairgrounds in Eagle was one of the options considered.
Wilson said Wilmore Lake and New York Mountain Overlook areas are right on the Interstate 70 and are potential choices for truck parking but access geometry will be difficult and the lack of amenities is a concern.
"The best option might be to reorganize the Edwards rest area," she said.
The challenge will be compensating truck parking spaces and some CDOT employee housing. To do away with the rest area services, the county will have to demonstrate those services are provided by businesses nearby.
That conversation will likely be rolled into the Edwards master plan process about to get under way. In that case, the Edwards Community Authority would hire a planner to work with county planning staff. As the county staff focuses on the regional master plan, the ECA planner would work on the rest area site.
- Derek Franz