IT’S A ROUNDABOUT
Eagle’s single busiest intersection made a momentous shift last week when the traffic lights made way for a roundabout traffic configuration at Eby Creek Road and Chambers Avenue.
According to Eagle Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski, the decision to shift to the roundabout pattern was made Monday.
“It’s a good change,” he said. “It should help to solve a lot of traffic issues down the road and it allows us to accelerate some of the construction.”
While the traffic pattern will be a roundabout configuration, the roadway won’t look like a roundabout. “It will be a circle made up of orange barrels,” said Gosiorowski during a Tuesday interview.
The final decision to make the switch on Oct. 1 was still being debated Tuesday. “We made the decision Monday to switch the traffic pattern to a roundabout and then it started to rain for the next eight hours,” Gosiorowski said. He noted the weather complicated paving efforts, but various concrete and asphalt patches were completed Tuesday to allow the plan to proceed.
The official change happened at 6 a.m. Wednesday. Gosiorowski predicted it would take a couple of days, but motorists should start to feel relief from the traffic congestion that has plagued the Eby Creek roadway all summer.
“It will take some time for people to get used to it, but people who live in Eagle obviously know how to negotiate roundabouts,” he said.
The roundabout configuration is still a work in progress however, with only one lane currently open. The center island and the additional traffic lane will be completed over the next few weeks. A major goal for the I-70 Eagle Interchange project is to have all five roundabouts functional by the end of the current construction season. The deadline date is Dec. 5.
600 cubic yards
Motorists noticed a big change along Eby Creek Road last week when paving was completed on the eastern half of the street. Gosiorowski said crews laid 600 cubic yards of concrete in a single day at the site.
“Over the course of the next month, people will see things moving very rapidly,” said Gosiorowski. “The only remaining slower piece of construction is the final retaining wall on U.S. Highway 6.”
That last retaining wall will accommodate an elevated sidewalk through the US6 corridor.
Over the next few weeks, Gosiorowski said motorists will begin driving through actual roundabouts and pedestrians will be able to access the sidewalk network planned through the corridor. On the east side of Eby Creek Road, those sidewalks will be located at the top of the recently completed retaining wall.
“The sidewalks are going to be above and separate from the traffic,” said Gosiorowski. “It will be a lot safer place for pedestrians to be.”
On the subject of pedestrians, Gosiorowski said the new pedestrian bridge over Interstate 70 will be open for traffic on Monday, Oct. 6. Concrete decks for the bridge approaches will be poured late this week.
Gosiorowski noted as a construction project, the Market Street roundabout has been the lowest priority for the overall Eby Creek Road effort.
“Once we can get to it, it will happen in a hurry,” he said. “It is the easiest roundabout to build, by far.”