EAGLE — Donna Long, the scheduler for Eagle County School District buses, wanted to know if she needed to allocate more time for drivers who need to navigate Eby Creek Road next year.
Dave Betts, manager of the Eagle City Market, wanted to know who to call if his store’s water or electric service is suddenly interrupted.
Erin Vega wanted to know if the railroad bridge spanning the roadway was slated for some cosmetic rehabilitation.
All three received their answers. They were among dozens of area residents who turned out earlier this month for an open house session hosted by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the town of Eagle and Flatiron Construction in anticipation of ground-breaking for the Eby Creek Road construction project this month.
The $23.5 million Eby Creek Road reconstruction project includes plans for new roundabouts at the eastbound and westbound Interstate 70 interchanges, Chambers Avenue and Market Street. Additionally the existing roundabout at U.S. Highway 6 will be expanded and a new pedestrian bridge will be constructed over I-70. The project will be completed in two phases with the I-70 interchange roundabouts and the pedestrian bridge slated for completion this summer. Utility work has already begun and motorists can expect to see heavy equipment roll into town soon. This year’s construction will likely continue through late October or early November depending upon weather. Next year, work will start up around March and will include the most difficult part of the overall project — the Chambers Avenue roundabout.
Long’s questions about what to expect in the way of delays was reflected by many of the people who attended the open house.
“We are a little concerned here,” she said, noting that several school buses have to travel the Eby Creek Road construction zone.
Matt Figgs of the Colorado Department of Transportation fielded Long’s questions and brought her to a traffic diagram sitting on an easel, one of several displays positioned around Eagle Town Hall’s community meeting room.
“As you can see, we have it so there are lanes in every direction,” Figgs explained. “That’s why we are tying to phase this. So there’s always lanes to travel.”
The idea that motorist will be facing regular length delays as they travel Eby Creek Road is the biggest misconception about the project, noted Eagle Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski.
“A lot of people seem to think we will only have one lane open on Eby Creek Road. There’s just too much traffic to reduce it down to just one lane,” he said.
The plan for Eby Creek construction calls for removal of existing landscape islands in the roadway along with additional shoulder paving. Gosiorowski noted there will be two lanes for traffic, but people will be driving in different areas than where they drive today.
“There’s enough real estate there — it’s just not paved today,” he said.
Who you gonna call?
A number of queries centered around communications — where can people go to see project updates and who can they call if there is a problem? LaSheita Sayer has been retained as the public information officer for the project. She greeted open house visitors at the door and handed out the official I-70 Eagle Interchange Fact Sheet. The information offered a brief description of the overall project and schedule and contained three ways to communicate with the project team: By phone: 970-432-7876; by email: I70eagle@PublicINfoTeam.com; By web: www.coloradodot.info/projects/i70eagle/i-70eagle-interchange-project.
Messy but worth it
After talking with Eagle residents and motorists, CDOT resident engineer Martha Miller was encouraged. “Everybody is assuming that is it going to be kind of messy this summer,” she noted. “But they are excited to see a traffic solution”
People who attended the session were also complimentary about the overall look for the planned roadway, with landscaping and other design features representing an aesthetically appealing entry to Eagle.
That new look for Eby Creek Road was what prompted Vega’s question about the railroad bridge.
“Hopefully they are doing something to make it be an even more glorious project,” she said, with a grin.
Alas, the answer was negative. “The railroad owns its bridge. It is not owned by the town of Eagle or by CDOT. Since their bridge is in great structural condition, we won’t see anything done there,” said Gosiorowski.