Construction zone traffic penalties can be expensive in Eagle County
May 18, 2013
EAGLE COUNTY — It's dark. The road is clear. There's isn't a highway worker for miles. Do you still have to obey all those "reduce speed" signs?
The short answer is "probably." With Interstate 70 between Edwards and Eagle turned into a construction zone between now and this fall, commuters and others will spend months running through reduced-speed zones along that stretch of road.
The work prompted an email to the editor of this newspaper, citing an expensive ticket she'd received in a construction zone a couple of years ago and wondering what the rules are for the times when no work is being done.
"If the signs are up, they're in effect," said Ashley Mohr, the Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman for this region.
Nancy Shanks, another department spokeswoman for the Western Slope, said the restrictions also apply if lanes are closed.
While speed restrictions are imposed to protect work crews, Mohr said the lower limits are also enforced with the public's safety in mind.
"We actually see more accidents with just motorists in those areas," Mohr said. One area along I-70, the westbound bridge over U.S. Highway 6 and the Eagle River west of Wolcott, was exceptionally rough recently. Another small bridge in the eastbound lanes on the west end of Red Canyon has a serious dip in it that can upset the balance of a car going too fast. Other potentially hazardous areas will no doubt crop up as construction continues.
Then there's the matter of some potentially confusing signs in the eastbound and westbound lanes. Mohr said it's a good idea for drivers to maintain the last posted speed limit until they see another, or get the relief of the "end fines doubled" signs.
Even with no construction going on, there still may be a Colorado State Patrol officer in the area. No one wants to see those flashing lights come on, and especially so in construction zones.
"Just because you don't see law enforcement doesn't mean it's not there," Mohr said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.