Edwards road project set to shift to roundabout function with overnight transfer | VailDaily.com

Edwards road project set to shift to roundabout function with overnight transfer

CDOT targets Thursday night switch in traffic pattern after months of construction

After months of construction, the main intersection in Edwards will shift from traffic lights to a roundabout overnight Thursday.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

EDWARDS — After months of road construction, Edwards is finally ready for its roundabout at its main intersection — or at least the first iteration of what will eventually become a two-lane traffic circle.

“We, at the beginning of this project, had set a pretty ambitious construction schedule to change the signalized intersection to a functional roundabout outside of the school year,” said Colorado Department of Transportation project manager Matt Figgs. “We are pretty excited to hit that schedule and we are excited to make the switch.”

The Colorado Department of Transporation has announced its plan for an overnight transfer on Thursday, Aug. 8, in the traffic pattern at the Edwards construction site. On that date, project crews will transition traffic at the U.S. 6 and Edwards Access Road intersection from the current four-way traffic signal configuration to the new functional roundabout. Beginning the morning of Aug. 9, the intersection will operate as a single-lane roundabout.

To make the traffic transition, Edwards Access Road will be closed north of the intersection from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Aug. 8. During this closure, businesses and residences will remain accessible, but motorists may need to use the detour route to reach their destinations. Northbound and southbound through traffic on the Edwards Access Road will use Miller Ranch Road and U.S. Highway 6 as the detour. Motorists should expect delays through the project area during this time.

The pedestrian detours during roundabout construction will remain after the traffic switch. Detour signage will direct pedestrians through the intersection.

Once the new roundabout is open, crews will continue to work in the area to add curbs, gutters, truck aprons and sidewalks. The roundabout is anticipated to open to two lanes by the end of November.

Based on his experience building the roundabouts along Eby Creek Road in Eagle five years ago, Figgs hopes motorists will see an immediate improvement in traffic flow once the switch to roundabout function is made.

Rough start

When construction began at the roundabout this spring, Edwards motorists braced for a long summer. Figgs noted that early on, lengthy traffic jams were reported at the site.

“I feel like we have been in a better place for the past seven weeks where we have been able to get traffic through our site and minimize delays as much as possible,” Figgs said. “We want to thank members of the traveling public their patience. Our crews are working long hours through the heat and the weather.”

According to CDOT, throughout roundabout construction, crews have maintained the vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow, as well as business access.

CDOT officials also noted that many design features of the Edwards Spur Road project support the state’s Whole System — Whole Safety systematic approach to traffic safety.

“Roundabouts have been proven safer and more efficient than traditional intersections and help reduce the number of serious crashes,” states the CDOT website. “Additionally, roundabouts are designed to improve safety for all road users, including pedestrians and bicycles. When fully complete, the new roundabout will feature high-visibility pedestrian crossings with refuge islands and flashing pedestrian crossing signs for increased safety.”

Union Pacific delay

While the project will hit its functional roundabout milestone a little ahead of schedule, another part of the construction has experienced a delay.

“We have not been able to work on the Union Pacific railroad bridge yet,” Figgs said. “The Union Pacific Railroad experienced significant layoffs last fall, which has caused a delay in our negotiations to get a final construction agreement.”

The site plans include widening the bridge over the railroad to four lanes and adding a new pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks. The negotiations delay with Union Pacific has prevented access to complete that work.

Figgs said CDOT officials don’t anticipate long-term problems getting the proper approvals from Union Pacific. But the negotiations delay will likely affect the project timing, which is slated for substantial completion by November. Landscaping and other finish work at the site will happen in 2020, but Figgs said at this point, CDOT can’t gauge how much of the railroad bridge construction will shift to next year.

“Unfortunately, we have not seen the final approval come through yet so we don’t know how much work will have to take place next year,” Figgs said. “When the final approvals come through, we will be able to extend the schedule and the extent of the traffic impacts will be dependent on when those approves come through.”