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Construction traffic hurt Vail businesses

VAIL ” Barbershops are, naturally, a place where people vent. And barber Jim Carlton has heard at lot of venting about Dowd Junction’s traffic this summer.

“They’d just say, ‘When is this ever going to be over with?'” Carlton said.

And Carlton is venting, too. He said the barbershop, Timberline Barber Shop, is feeling the squeeze from the project, where crews are repaving the highway and are building a new median barrier.

“It’s definitely affected our business, and I’m sure it affects a lot of people’s businesses,” he said.

Downvalley customers have avoided coming upvalley to the shop, Carlton said.

“Monday through Thursday was just ridiculous,” he said. “Our business was down tremendously.”

On Friday and Saturday, when work was suspended through the summer, business was good, Carlton said.

The Colorado Department of Transportation could have done some of the work at night, he said.

In response to concerns from some business, a Department of Transportation official said construction will be done differently next year. The barriers will be poured elsewhere and installed afterward and the paving will be done after Labor Day, said Peter Kozinski, resident engineer for the department, in a letter to the Vail Chamber and Business Association. Paving work is supposed to continue east toward Vail next summer.

Kozinski could not be reached for comment Friday.

Jeannie Robbins of Eagle Valley Music Co. in West Vail, said the traffic has affected business this summer.

“It’s true that when people would order, a lot of time they would wait until the weekend to come and pick it up,” she said.

She’ll be happy when the construction is all done, she said.

“Certainly it’s made a difference,” she said.

Steve Rosenthal, owner of Colorado Footwear, said he saw fewer downvalley customers at his Vail store this summer.

“The second-home owner that comes up and lives in Edwards, Cordillera, Lake Creek, Arrowhead, none of them came into Vail,” he said.

To restrict traffic four days a week during July, one of Vail’s busiest months, was like a “slap in the face,” Rosenthal said.

The Colorado Department of Transportation could have done a better job communicating with the town about the disruptions, Rosenthal said.

Councilman Mark Gordon said the businesses’ concerns are legitimate, and the town has been working with the Department of Transportation minimize the effects of the traffic.

“Next summer, there will be great improvements to the way they do the construction, he said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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