Edwards gets money for roundabouts | VailDaily.com

Edwards gets money for roundabouts

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EDWARDS ” You can sit at a stoplight in Edwards for what seems like five minutes with no other cars in sight, one Edwards resident says.

“It can be a real pain to just sit there. Sometimes I start thinking I’ll just run it,” Mike Sayers said.

Another Edwards resident, Micah Olson, had a similar complaint.

“If you get caught at the light (coming off I-70) you can get stuck much longer than needed. You can also get stuck at the light by the Shell station,” he said.

Many residents said that traffic has gotten increasingly worse on Edwards Spur Road (between Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 6), especially during rush hours, when cars can back up onto the I-70 off-ramp.

But new funding for the construction of several new roundabouts will help the situation and keep traffic moving, county officials said.

The Colorado Transportation Commission approved $11 million in October for the construction of four roundabouts on the Edwards Spur Road near the I-70 interchange. The state also approved $500,000 for studying and designing improvements for the interstate exit in Eagle.

The roundabouts will be an improvement, said Rick Granzow, who lives in Eagle-Vail and works in Edwards. There can be long lines at all the Edward’s lights during the evening, he said.

“Roundabouts just work better than the stoplights as long as they are wide enough,” Granzow said. “They seems to be quite efficient and just keep traffic moving.”

The Edwards project has been in the works for several years, but the money has not been available to build it until now, County Engineer Eva Wilson said.

The roundabouts will be on either side of I-70, at Spur Road’s intersection with Miller Ranch Road, and at the interstate entrance to Singletree, replacing the existing traffic lights. All the roundabouts will be two lanes, and construction is expected to start in spring 2009, Wilson said.

Getting the roundabouts designed and funded has been a collaborative effort between the county, the Edwards metro districts and the Colorado Department of Transportation, said Ken Marchetti, administrator for the Edwards area metro districts.

“The Edwards Spur Road had been a a traffic problem for a period of time and in need of expansion,” Marchetti said. “Everyone was pretty ecstatic that we got the project funded.”

A group of Edwards metro districts, including Berry Creek, Edwards, Cordillera, Lake Creek and Arrowhead, partnered with the county commissioners in 2005 to fund the design of the roundabouts. That way, if the funding ever became available, the project could get underway, Marchetti said.

The Colorado Department of Transportation also got involved, contributing money to buy the necessary land for the project.

This project had been a priority for the region’s transportation officials for awhile, said County Commissioner Peter Runyon, who has been lobbying the state to fund the project.

“The Department of Transportation is much more likely to fund projects that are already designed,” he said. “Because the designing is done is why the money came.”

The $11 million from the state will cover the construction, but the metro districts will probably have to pay for landscaping, signs, and extending sidewalks up to the medical center and Singletree, Marchetti said.

Building the roundabouts will not only solve traffic problems, but it will also create a grand entrance for the town, he said.

“Part of the intent is for Edwards to make this their front door. It’ll tie the community together,” he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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