Eagle River Station will ease traffic | VailDaily.com

Eagle River Station will ease traffic

Paul Witt
Eagle, CO Colorado

The article on Eagle’s traffic problems helps to illustrate the complexities of trying to solve issues with limited resources. It also shows that there is no one single answer to the problem ” the solutions have to come from many different contributors. Eagle River Station, of which I am a representative and which I personally support as well, can be one of those contributors.

First, by Eagle River Station adding a new interchange east of Eagle, it gives drivers the opportunity to avoid two of the biggest choke points” no more sitting at the light waiting to get off I-70, no more sitting at the light at Chambers Avenue. You can get to Chambers and all the businesses and residences east of Eby Creek Road without ever having to use the main exit. If you’re heading to Broadway or points west, you’ll still have to go through the roundabout at Highway 6, but it is designed to efficiently accommodate traffic from all four directions. Along with the other road improvements that ERS is proposing, however, the end result will be alleviating the current situation.

The studies conducted by professional traffic engineers for Eagle River Station also support the benefits of this interchange to the town. These are the same engineers that the town of Eagle has used in the past and are using now for non-ERS studies.

Second, money is an issue. The town doesn’t have it, the county doesn’t have it, and the state and the feds aren’t in the habit of giving any away. Eagle needs to generate more sales tax revenue, and do it on a scale that can support not only our traffic-solving needs, but our other infrastructure and service needs as well. Eagle River Station has the potential to throw off as much as $2.5 million per year in revenue to the town. And even in a worst case scenario, which we don’t believe is likely to happen, it’s still more than $1 million annually to help the town fund its traffic solutions, or improve other streets in town, or fix sewers, or do whatever it feels is best to serve the town. Instead of 10 years to wait for traffic solutions, maybe it’s only five or four or three.

How about an interchange west of Eagle? That would absolutely help as well. But once again, who’s going to fund it? The town can’t afford it. Where’s it going to go? I just saw the initial plans for the Fairgrounds complex, and I didn’t see any contemplation of an interchange there. And the airport interchange is so far down the road ” literally and figuratively ” that I don’t think it can really be considered a viable option.

So that’s part of what Eagle River Station brings to Eagle. A new interchange, built in the next two years, paid for upfront by investors, and repaid from sales tax and property tax generated by the development. An additional steady stream of income to the town to contribute to other traffic solutions or spend on other municipal needs. Additional financial flexibility and stability for Eagle. It’s only part of the solution, but it’s a significant one. The town engineer has said Eagle needs a new interchange, with or without Eagle River Station, to help resolve current traffic problems. However, as already stated, the town doesn’t have the money for it nor has the state or feds set aside any money for it. To have Eagle River Station build it is a golden opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

Without Eagle River Station, we’re stuck in the same place we are now ” in a traffic jam.

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