Avon roundabout coming full circle | VailDaily.com

Avon roundabout coming full circle

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado

AVON ” A roundabout you can’t go around was about the dumbest thing Jennifer Race ever saw when she moved here last winter.

Race is referring to the roundabout at Avon and Benchmark roads, where a median prevents drivers from making a full loop.

“Sometimes I just want to run over that median,” Race said.

She was happy to see construction crews at that roundabout this week, knocking out the island and giving it full 360 degree movement. Work should be finished this summer.

“I like it. It’s the small things that matter in small towns,” Race said.

That roundabout has been a sore spot for many people over the years, confusing tourists and frustrating locals who drive around it every day. For instance, someone driving east on Benchmark from the library would have to turn right on Avon Road, drive to the Beaver Creek roundabout, turn around, and drive back north Avon Road to get to Loaded Joe’s for a cup of coffee.

It can be especially disorienting for tourists who don’t know their way around, said Mason Miller, an assistant manager at Loaded Joe’s.

“Out of towners really have a hard time doing it, so this change should make it easier,” Miller said. “Yeah, it’ll be good for business here. People won’t get lost as much.”

The project will also involve building new crosswalks, sidewalks, curbs, gutters and roadways. The southern portion of the intersection will have to be raised and widened so drivers going through the roundabout have enough room and aren’t on a steep hill.

Eagle-Vail resident Merril Rogers said she doesn’t mind the expected delays, as long as the new roundabout works better than the old one.

“There are always delays in the summer, but this should be a good thing,” Rogers said.

This new roundabout also plays into Avon’s plan for revitalizing its downtown area. Planners are looking to make west Avon into plaza full of shops, restaurants, a parking garage and easy access to Nottingham Park and the Westin Riverfront Village.

By making it a “full” roundabout, the east and west sides of town will be better connected, said Eric Heidemann, community development director.

While two-way traffic will be maintained throughout the majority of construction, delays are imminent and motorists are asked to use Beaver Creek Boulevard as much as possible to avoid delays at Benchmark Road. In addition, all vehicles over thirty feet in length are asked to avoid that portion of Avon Road. Dates shown below are subject to minor changes.

The project will begin with the inside lanes on northbound and southbound Avon Road closed as demolition occurs on the center teardrop shaped island. After three to four days, traffic will be diverted to two-way traffic onto the northbound lanes of Avon Road. During this closure, the contractor will demolish the southbound lanes of Avon Road.

Starting the week of April 23, the contractor will shift two-way traffic onto the southbound lanes of Avon Road as the northbound lanes are demolished, followed by grading and preparation for new curb and gutter.

Traffic will again shift onto the northbound lanes as the southbound lanes are prepared for curb, gutter, and sidewalk. Southbound lane preparation is anticipated for the week of April 30.

Around May 7, the contractor will again shift the closure to the northbound lanes for final grading. Later that week, traffic will be shifted to the outsides of the southbound and northbound lanes as the center portion of the project (median islands) receive final grading.

Finally, around May 16, paving and crosswalk installation will begin. You should expect one day of full closure for paving operations. Additional information pertaining to detour will be provided when necessary.

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

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