Bad drivers worsen traffic, some say |

Bad drivers worsen traffic, some say

Steve Lynn
Vail CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” It took Chuck Kershner an hour and a half to drive from Avon to Vail just to check his mail Wednesday afternoon, he said.

Drivers in the left lane tried to cut in at the last second while others waiting in the right lane would not let them merge, he said.

“It’s this battle of merging, which is just a pain,” Kershner said.

Locals like Kershner acknowledge that construction has slowed traffic on Interstate 70 lately, but plenty of bad drivers in the valley make it worse, they say. Their concerns ranged from merging with a closed lane ahead to speeding to tailgating.

With a closed lane ahead on the two-lane Interstate, most drivers putt along in one lane while cars zoom by in the other lane and cut in at the very last second, drivers said.

Sitting in that lane backs up traffic, said Capt. Richard Duran of the Colorado State Patrol.

Drivers should use both lanes until they come to the last possible point to merge, Duran said. Then cars should alternate into the open lane one at a time, he said.

If drivers straddle both lanes in an effort to prevent that type of merging, they could get a $39 ticket, Duran said.

Drivers don’t pay attention to merging on the highway in construction traffic, said Avon resident Tom Shaheen.

“They just try to butt in there, no matter what’s going on,” Shaheen said.

It’s not just a merging problem, drivers said.

“I think everybody kind of drives erratically,” said Avon resident Heidi Forsline.

Forsline lives next to Highway 6. With the construction traffic on Interstate 70, traffic on Highway 6 has increased, along with noise, she said.

Tailgating upsets Hope Squiers the most, she said.

“I understand they’re in a hurry, but everybody’s in a hurry,” said Squiers, Buckhorn Valley resident who commutes to work in Beaver Creek.

Kershner blamed tailgating on “lack of patience.”

“Honestly, I’ll do it, too. I’m not going to be a hypocrite,” Kershner said. “But people just tailgate you, which makes you feel uncomfortable. As if tailgating you is going to make you move any faster.”

Workers are installing a new, taller, 5-foot barrier on Interstate 70 at Dowd Canyon, said Peter Kozinski of the state transportation department. That work would finish early July, he said.

Paving work would continue through early October, but no lanes would be closed after September, he said. Paving is continuing eastbound from Avon to Dowd Canyon. It will then go westbound from the canyon back to Edwards, he said.

In the valley, it’s tough to get anywhere without using Interstate 70, said Alan Pisarski, author of “Commuting in America III.” Pisarski doesn’t live in the valley, but he’s familiar with its traffic patterns, he said.

Across the country, people working in one area and living in another create more traffic on the nation’s highways, he said.

“That same issue is written large all over the country,” Pisarski said.

Staff writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or Staff writer Edward Stoner contributed to this story.

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