Edwards motorists, ECO buses cope with roundabout construction traffic | VailDaily.com

Edwards motorists, ECO buses cope with roundabout construction traffic

CDOT's goal is to limit construction delays to 10 to 15 minutes at maximum

This rendering from the Colorado Department of Transportation shows the roundabout layout planned in Edwards at U.S. Highway 6. Next week the construction site will switch over to roundabout function.
Special to the Daily

EDWARDS — The traffic at the Edwards roundabout project on U.S. Highway 6 and along the Edwards Spur Road has gotten to be too much for ECO Transit.

The county bus system isn’t alone in that sentiment. And, like residents of the community, the bus system is altering its travel patterns to avoid the impacts.

‘”Construction projects can be messy and sometimes difficult,” acknowledged Matt Figgs, Colorado Department of Transportation Engineer. The Edwards project is especially impactful because of its expedited schedule and high profile location.

The Edwards Interstate 70 Spur Road improvements project launched in February 2019 and will include a new roundabout at Edwards Spur Road and U.S. Highway 6, widening of the Edwards Spur Road, bridge reconstruction and pedestrian improvements. The total project cost is estimated at $21.75 million and is being funded by CDOT, Eagle County and the Edwards Metropolitan District.

The project will be substantially completed by the end of 2019 with some landscaping, finish work and railroad bridge construction continuing in 2020

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ECO alters routes

In an announcement distributed this week, ECO Transit said due to congestion occurring as part of the Edwards Spur Road improvement project, it has suspended service to Freedom Park on its Highway 6 East and Highway 6 West bus routes. ECO says its buses were experiencing delays in excess of 40 minutes, so the temporary suspension has been put in place in an effort to keep buses running on time. Other routes are unaffected.

Transit users at Freedom Park can use the pedestrian path behind the Edwards Field House to access the Highway 6 and Bull Run Road bus stops along both sides of U.S. Highway 6.

Roundabout construction has also required temporary closures of the westbound bus stop at Highway 6 and Edwards Spur Road and the eastbound stop at Highway 6 and the Riverwalk. Passengers can use the nearby westbound stop at Highway 6 and the Riverwalk westbound and the westbound stop at Highway 6 and Edwards Spur Road while closures are in place.

Work update

According to Karen Berdoulay, CDOT resident engineer for Eagle and Lake counties, new road stripping and temporary traffic signals contributed to longer delays at the Edwards roundabout site this week.

“Right now, we have just started one of the most challenging parts of the construction — shifting from a signalized intersection to a roundabout configuration,” she said.

She noted the project recently completed a big milestone, but it’s one that motorists likely can’t appreciate.

“We have completed the bulk of the underground utility work. That’s a big accomplishment on the construction end to get that done,” Berdoulay said.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the underground utility projects led to the biggest traffic backup to date at the site.

“We had some night work for the water line that didn’t progress as quickly as we hoped and it spilled into the morning time,” Figgs said. “I don’t know exactly how long the traffic wait was, but we did have it cleared out by about 9 a.m.”

Figgs added that more than 2,000 linear feet of water line has been replaced at the site to date.

Roundabouting by back to school

Berdoulay said CDOT’s goal is to limit construction delays to 10 to 15 minutes at maximum. She added that volume at the intersection and along Edwards Spur Road significantly dropped when the Edwards schools began the summer break. Once the kids were out of classes, a more aggressive construction schedule was launched.

“The goal will be to get the intersection in roundabout configuration before school opens,” said Berdoulay. “As soon as you can get the intersection functioning as a roundabout, that’s a huge shift. We think that is coming at the end of the summer.”

In the meantime, she hopes motorists will be patient with the disruption.

Hopefully, the challenges in the short term will be overcome by all the benefits in the long term,” she said.

ECO Transit bus routes will be monitored and adjusted as construction progresses. For more information and assistance with trip planning, visit http://www.eaglecounty.us/transit or call 970-328-3520.

To learn more about the construction schedule or make comments about the work, call 970-446-1001 or email edwards@acig-pr.com. Additional information is also available at https://www.codot.gov/projects/edwards-spur-road

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