Avon roadwork nearing an end | VailDaily.com

Avon roadwork nearing an end

Matt Zalaznick

The work is almost done, engineers say, but there’s one more big hump to get over—the closure next week of two major downtown intersections.

“Things are looking good,” Avon Town Manager Bill Efting says.

Beginning Sunday, Beaver Creek Place’s intersections with East Benchmark Road and Chapel Place will be closed. Sections of the roads between and leading into those intersections also will be closed. The streets should reopen Friday afternoon, says Avon Town Engineer Norm Wood.

The closure won’t block any businesses, but getting from Pazzo’s to City Market, for instance, might take a little more planning, Wood says.

“People will be able to get everywhere without any problem, probably with less disruption than they’ve dealt with all summer – other than picking the right route,” Wood says. “This just cuts off a little strip between Chapel Place and Beaver Creek Place.”

Workers will finish concrete and brick crosswalks while the streets and intersections are closed. Closing the streets will also shorten construction by weeks, Wood says.

“If we did it one piece at a time, it could take five weeks to do this,” Wood says. “We can maintain access to everything – all the businesses – with minor disruptions for a one-week period.”

Most of the construction should be done by the end of September, with the contractor finishing cleanup work by Oct. 22, Wood says.

While the streets are closed, the Wal-Mart bus stop will be temporarily out of service. Riders can board the bus at the Chapel Square stop, just east of City Market.

The work is meant to formalize and untangle some of east Avon’s streets. Before the work started, for instance, East Benchmark Road between Wal-Mart and Radio Shack seemed to take drivers through a parking lot, not a main thoroughfare.

“It’s a street that goes through parking lots. The purpose is to truly make a street out of it with defined entrances,” Wood says. “It should result in a major improvement in circulation on that side of town and make it much more attractive and make it easier for pedestrians to move around.”

Business owners in east Avon have been patient. Though the construction is a hassle, their side of town should end up looking a lot nicer, they say.

“It’s certainly hurting business, but I think the final project as I see it over by Wal-Mart looks nice,” Venture Sports co-owner Mark Weinreich said three weeks ago. “What they’re doing is certainly something that’s very necessary. I think it will be a good improvement.”

The streets have been dusty, but Beaver Liquors co-owner David Courtney says his customers haven’t been scared off.

“It’s a pain and it’s dusty, but it really doesn’t bug me because it’s all for the better,” Courtney says.

If the work goes according to plan, Avon will attract more visitors in the future, Courtney says.

“With a sidewalk around our village and park benches, it’s gonna make Beaver Creek more of a destination,” he says. “People will know they can come down to a normal town, because not everybody can afford to shop in those boutiques up at Beaver Creek.”

At a recent Town Council meeting, Councilman Buz Reynolds summed up how many who’ve driven through Avon probably feel about the roadwork.

“It looks nice, I just want to get it done,” Reynolds said.

For further information on next week’s closure, call Avon’s Engineering Department at 748-4100.

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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