Eby Creek Road construction will launch in Eagle next month | VailDaily.com

Eby Creek Road construction will launch in Eagle next month

Special to the Daily

EAGLE — It is the surest sign to date that the ambitious Eby Creek Road construction project in Eagle is a go — this week the Colorado Department of Transportation issued an official press release announcing construction will begin in mid July.

"Warning: it is really happening," said Eagle Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski.

The $23.5 million Eby Creek Road reconstruction project includes plans for new roundabouts at the eastbound and westbound Interstate 70 interchanges, Chambers Avenue and Market Street. Additionally the existing roundabout at U.S. Highway 6 will be expanded and a new pedestrian bridge will be constructed over I-70. The project will be completed in two phases with the I-70 interchange roundabouts and the pedestrian bridge slated for completion this summer.

"The project is critical to the Eagle community because in the past several years, a large increase in population in the area has created traffic flow issues, especially during rush hours, at the existing Eagle interchange with I-70," noted the Colorado Department of Transportation's construction press release. "Frequent problems with traffic backups through town, on the I-70 off-ramp and even on I-70 not only threaten motorists' safety, but also create congestion. Traffic light adjustments to help alleviate congestion have been unsuccessful as a permanent solution."

The town of Eagle has partnered with the state to fund the construction work, contributing roughly $5.2 million.

"I will argue all day that this is the most important road improvement we are ever going to build in Eagle," Gosiorowski said.

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Astute drivers will have already noticed that the areas around the roadway are being disturbed.

"Utility work is what people are seeing right now," said Martha Miller, CDOT resident engineer. She noted the state's news release this week was a welcome development

"Yes, the project is coming and it is exciting," said Miller.

And, like any road construction project, it will be inconvenient. But members of the design team are working out construction and public information details designed to lessen the impacts.

"Flatiron Construction, the contractor, is making a huge effort to make sure that we keep the same number of travel lanes open that we have today," said Gosiorowski. "That means a lot of temporary paving."

The plan involves tearing out the landscape islands currently located in the roadway and laying down temporary travel lanes so cars can continue movement through the construction zones. Additionally, Gosiorowski noted that turn lanes will be shortened through the area.

"It is going to feel and look a lot different from what we have today," he said. "We are going to be driving in different places than where we drive today."

Gosiorowski said that motorists can expect very minimal traffic stops for one way driving during the course of the construction. "At this point, I don't think we will have one way traffic. That is just not in our plan," he said.

Gosiorowski added that crews also plan minimal work and flaggers during the morning and evening commute times. Additionally, Gosiorowski predicts that motorists from west of town who traditionally access I-70 through Eagle will likely find it helps their commute to access the highway at the Gypsum I-70 interchange. He also predicts more motorists will elect to drive on U.S. Highway 6 to Wolcott.

This year's construction will likely continue through late October or early November depending upon weather. Next year, work will start up around March and will include the most difficult part of the overall project ­— the Chambers Avenue roundabout.

Gosiorowski noted that the Chamber Avenue work is slated for a part of the road that has a steeper grade and will require the construction of retaining walls and fill to level the platform for the new roundabout.

The other thorny issue for next year's construction is budget. Earlier this spring CDOT and town engineers learned there was an approximately $2 million shortfall for the overall plan.

"What is up in the air is if we will have enough money to do both the Market Street roundabout and the U.S. Highway 6 roundabout improvements next year," said Gosiorowski. "I am really optimistic that we are going to get the project fully funded and build the whole thing next year."

Miller echoed those sentiments, saying the state will know by Sept. 1 and if the additional funding will be available for next year. In the meantime, she noted there is a significant amount of work on tap for this summer.

"CDOT is aware that the project is critically important to the Eagle community, and contractors will be working with businesses and commuters to help minimize construction impacts," said the CDOT press release.

For more information visit the project's website at http://www.coloradodot.info/projects/i70ateagle/i-70-eagle-interchange-project.