State commits $3.5M more to Eby Creek Road project
The full-blown improvement plan for Eagle’s busiest roadway will proceed after a decision by the Colorado Department of Transportation to allocate an additional $3.5 million for the project.
Last week CDOT approved $1.5 billion worth of statewide road construction and maintenance projects through the Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnership — or RAMP — program. Under RAMP, CDOT funds multi-year projects based on year-of expenditure, rather than saving for the full amount for a project before construction begins. The additional money for Eby Creek Road was one of 44 projects that made the list.
“What this means is we are going to be able to build the roundabout at Market Street and improve the existing roundabout at U.S. Highway 6 to a full two-lane roundabout,” said Eagle Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski. “This project is a great example of cooperation between the town and the state.”
It also means that by its completion, the Eby Creek Road project will have cost in excess of $24 million. Of that amount, the town will chip in $3 million.
“From the state level, we have a lot of different kinds of state money, and federal money as well, coming to the project” said Gosiorowski. He said the state’s contributions have come from eight different programs.
Earlier this year, Eagle officials were concerned that rising costs at the Eby Creek Road project would force crews to cut back the scale of the work. That meant that the Market Street roundabout and the U.S. 6 roundabout improvements would be cut from the program. This summer, crews focused construction efforts on the northbound and southbound I-70 interchange roundabouts, along with initial work on the I-70 pedestrian bridge. With the additional money, the construction plan for next year includes construction of the Chambers Road roundabout, completion of the pedestrian bridge and the Market Street and U.S. 6 work. Gosiorowski noted that the U.S. 6 expansion will include construction of a new sidewalk from Capitol Street to the roundabout and expansion of the existing bridge over the Eagle River.
Motorists along Eby Creek Road experienced a lane shift last week as traffic was diverted to the new concrete area along the eastern side of the road between Chambers and I-70. The intersection at Eby Creek Road and the eastbound I-70 ramps now has traffic switched onto the new roundabout configuration.
Currently, roundabout construction is still in progress, and work will continue in adjacent areas through November. Though the new roundabouts are both safe and fully functional, motorists are still advised to drive with caution through the new traffic configuration.
Beginning this week and continuing through Nov. 22, there will be frequent traffic switches on the new I-70 eastbound and westbound roundabouts. This is necessary for crews to finish concrete paving at the locations. The existing traffic lanes will be maintained, but will experience periodic shifts. Minor traffic delays could occur during the traffic switches.
Gosiorowski noted during the coming weeks, the construction areas will begin to look more like roundabouts.
He said now that the concrete work is nearing completion on the roadway, crews will shift to the center roundabout construction. “Until they get shut down by weather, probably in early December, they will keep working at the center roundabouts.”
When weather conditions halt that work, Gosiorowski said crews will shift to the Eagle River bridge expansion and by March, construction on Eby Creek Road will pick up again.
It would be really hard to spark a wildfire anywhere near Vail Mountain or Beaver Creek right now. Still, unattended campfires will always draw attention.