Edwards needs second I-70 exit, county says | VailDaily.com

Edwards needs second I-70 exit, county says

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EDWARDS, Colorado ” A new Interstate 70 exit could help clear up almost a third of the traffic in downtown Edwards, county engineers said.

The county is looking at putting an interstate exit at Hillcrest Drive near Cordillera in west Edwards.

The exit would be a “half” exit like Eagle-Vail’s, with an east bound on-ramp and a west bound off-ramp. The land surrounding the area makes it too difficult to make a two-way exit, said County Engineer Eva Wilson.

The research done on the exit is preliminary, and right now there is no federal approval or funding for the exit, she said.

“The real hurdle would be to get the Federal Highway Administration to approve it, and we haven’t even presented this to the Colorado Department of Transportation. We’re just investigating the effects of if there was an exit,” she said.

If there was an exit there, about 28 percent of the traffic from the main intersection of Edwards would be diverted, and traffic through Edwards on Highway 6 would stay the way it is for up to another 10 years, said County Commissioner Peter Runyon.

County and Edwards area officials are looking for ways to clear up the roads, especially with the construction of the West End project, which will add new homes and businesses to downtown Edwards.

The county is also looking at other nearby land for a possible affordable housing site, which would add more traffic.

But Runyon said traffic is something the county is taking into account when considering these new projects.

“As Eagle County develops (the Edwards area), I’d expect we’d hold our feet to the same fire as we would a developer,” Runyon said.

An $11-million project is already planned for new roundabouts at the Edwards/ I-70 interchange, and the county has partnered with the Edwards area metro districts to fund a traffic and road study on Edwards Spur Road.

Wilson said she expects the results will be that the road will need to be widened to four lanes. Right now there is no funding for that either, but county officials will add that request to their Colorado Department of Transportation wish list.

“We’re trying to move these solutions up on CDOT’s priority list,” said County Commissioner Sara Fisher.

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

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