Avon sets busy construction season
AVON – Springtime marks a traditional changing of the guard in the Vail Valley- skiers phase out, construction crews roll in.The ground breaks as soon as it peaks out from the melting snow.Keeping with the mud-season tradition, Avon engineers and designers have an ambitious work schedule planned for 2007. Engineer Jeff Schneider said about $8.6 million in projects were allotted for the year, as opposed to about $5 million in 2006.Projects will range from street improvements, construction of a new transportation center and a major overhaul to the roundabout at Benchmark Road and Avon Road.Schneider said delays and inconveniences can be expected, but they’ll be well advertised so drivers can figure out how to change their routes.Here’s a closer look at what’s happening:
Work will begin around April 1 on a transportation center that Schneider said will greatly improve circulation and tie together town, county and ski-shuttle buses.The center will go on Benchmark Road, just west of the current center. It should be finished in October. The new center will be much larger and can hold up to 6 buses, which transportation director Bob Reed said will solve the congestion that sometimes occurs during the morning rush. He said it will be easier for people to catch their buses and easier on drivers who are sometimes stuck behind buses picking up passengers.The hub will provide access to the Westin Riverfront, a village of shops, restaurants, hotel rooms and a gondola to Beaver Creek Mountain that is now under construction. Passenger railcar service is also a possibility in the future, town officials say. The project will involve closing Benchmark Road for realignment, landscaping, lighting, laying new pavement and building a transit shelter.Construction will also start on two ground-level railroad crossings, one near the current transportation center and another near the fire station. They will connect the center of Avon with the Riverfront development. Work should be completed by Memorial Day.
The roundabout at Benchmark Road and Avon Road has been a sore spot for many drivers, mainly because you can’t go all the way around it, Schneider said. Starting in mid-April, Avon will reconstruct the roundabout to allow for a full rotation.”It will be a way to get from West Benchmark Road to east, or from Avon Road to Christy Sports,” Schneider said. “It’s just better circulation.”The project will also involve building new crosswalks, sidewalks, curb, gutter and roadway surfaces. Schneider said 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.Detour and closure information hasn’t been finalized.
West Beaver Creek will receive a two-inch asphalt overlay and crack prevention treatment from Benchmark Road to the curve just before Avon Elementary School.In Wildridge, Saddleridge Loop and Wildridge Road East will receive two-inch asphalt overlays and a new 8-foot-wide pedestrian path. Wildridge Road West will only get new asphalt.These projects will likely begin immediately after Memorial Day and be completed by Labor Day.In April, Eaglebend Drive and Stonebridge Road are slated for new curb, gutter, lighting and a pedestrian/bike path along the south side of the road. They’ll also receive lighting and two bus pullouts. Ornamental lighting will be added to Stonebridge Road Bridge. “These will be pillars with stone facings and lights fitted on top,” Schneider said.One lane of traffic will be closed at a time during this project, and work should be done by July 4.
The town will continue working on the Avon White Water Park area on the Eagle River. A new path will be created from the current bike path switchback located northwest of Bob the Bridge and leading to the whitewater features and fishing holes upriver. The path will end at the Nottingham Power Plant, an attraction recently added to the Colorado State Register of Historic Places. Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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