Community trying to ease construction traffic
Signs, management and safety were the key components of requests from the community as they met with Colorado Department of Transportation officials last week.The meeting, co-sponsored by the Department of Transportation and the Vail Chamber & Business Association, had two major points of discussion: What did the transportation department did wrong last year, and what it needs to do better next year.In a room filled with about 45 people, transportation officials acknowledged that the summers construction through the Vail Valley had more than its share of problems, and they to come up with a better plan for 2008.For the coming summer season, work will continue with the completion of barrier installation and paving through Dowd Junction. Next year, all work will be done between 6:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.Work on the stretch of highway from West Vail to East Vail will begin after Labor Day. The Department of Transportation is still exploring its options about the best time of day to do that work. Community members were pleased to hear that the new paving will result in a slight reduction in noise from the interstate.Key elements that officials promised to address centered around management, safety and communication. Some specific ideas were to increase the type and number of caution signs. The group clearly felt that a sign simply saying slow down was not enough with one citizen suggesting slow down or die would not be too strong a statement. Flashing lights, portable speed bumps, more flaggers, better merging instructions, less congestion at exit ramps and at the roundabouts and variable-message signs were also among the ideas that came from the audience.Probably the two most important outcomes of this meeting were the commitment from the transportation department to develop a better plan for next years construction and a willingness to meet regularly with the community.Before construction begins next summer, more meetings will be scheduled. Regular meetings will be held throughout the summer, much like the weekly town of Vail construction meetings. If you are interested in participating in these discussions, call the Vail Chamber & Business Association at 477-0075 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Meeting notices will also be given in the Vail Daily as well as the town and Vail Chamber Web sites and publications.Lourdes Ferzacca is president of the Vail Chamber & Business Association board of directors.