Gypsum intersection sees another crash |

Gypsum intersection sees another crash

Intersection of U.S. Highway 6 and Jules Drive on Monday saw its fifth accident of 2021

The driver of the at-fault vehicle in a Monday accident in Gypsum was an unlicensed juvenile.
Scott N. Miller/Vail Daily

An intersection in Gypsum saw another traffic accident Monday morning. That’s the fifth this year, and the second that resulted in injuries.

That crash, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 6 and Jules Drive, happened just after 8 a.m. According to Gypsum Town Manager Jeremy Rietmann, the accident appeared to be caused by an unlicensed juvenile driver trying to merge from Jules Drive onto Highway 6. Rietmann said the Monday accident is the fourth at that intersection since September.

Cicero DaSilva recently moved his shop, Down Valley Tire Pros, formerly Down Valley Tires & Wheels, into a new building near that intersection. Noticing Monday’s accident, DaSilva said that was the third accident there he’s witnessed since the new shop opened.

Rietmann said a lot of the trouble at that intersection is driver error.

Rietmann lives in Eagle, and drives to and from Gypsum every day on Highway 6.

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When he’s westbound in the mornings, he often sees people making left turns out of Jules Drive when there isn’t really enough space to do so safely.

Just a bit farther west, at the intersection with Greenway, Rietmann said there’s only been one accident, with probably more traffic.

But the Greenway intersection is in a stretch of Highway 6 where the speed limit is 35 mph. The limit at Jules Drive is 45 mph.

Assistant Town Manager Jim Hancock, also a town engineer, said it’s possible that speeds will be reduced east of Greenway at some time in the future.

Gypsum and Eagle in 2017 took over maintenance of a 7-mile stretch of Highway 6 between the towns. That means the towns no longer have to rely on the Colorado Department of Transportation for approval of speed limit changes, traffic signals and other improvements.

Still, study is required before taking action that’s going to affect traffic flow.

Gypsum in early 2022 will conduct a traffic study of all the town’s roads. That study will be conducted while school is still in session, Rietmann said.

Traffic in town during peak periods has improved since Eagle County Schools went to later start times. But there are more residents since the last traffic study in 2010 or so.

The study will evaluate virtually every intersection in town, Hancock said, and will also provide data on whether that intersection gets a traffic signal in the foreseeable future.

Hancock said “it’s good engineering practice” to not put up traffic signals before traffic levels warrant such a move.

Traffic also has to hit certain levels before the Stratton Flats residential neighborhood and the still-vacant Tower Center commercial area are obligated put up a traffic signal.

But what drives putting up a signal may be a few years in the future.

For now, Rietmann urges drivers to use caution and take their time.

“It appears to me to be impatience,” Rietmann said of the accidents and close calls. “If you wait 30 seconds, you’d be safe.”

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