Edwards-to-Wolcott bike path planned | VailDaily.com

Edwards-to-Wolcott bike path planned

Melanie Wong
Eagle County, CO Colorado
Daily file photoThere are plans to give cyclists riding between Edwards and Wolcott, Colorado more room.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Two new bike path extensions could give bike riders safer routes through some of Eagle County’s most popular biking areas.

One bike path will run from west Edwards to Wolcott, and the other will connect Dowd Junction to Minturn, said Eco Trails Director Ellie Caryl.

Eagle County planners are still working out the exact path the new Edwards-to-Wolcott route will take, but the plan for the 5-mile stretch will be 10-feet wide, following both the Eagle River and U.S. Highway 6.

Commissioners gave the approval to start designing and engineering the path on Tuesday. The project is expected to cost about $3.5 million, Caryl said.

The new path will add on to the existing trail system that runs from Vail to Edwards. Eventually, planners hope to connect the entire valley down to Glenwood Canyon.

The county also plans to widen the shoulders of Highway 6 in the next couple years to make the route safer for cyclists.

Edwards cyclist Robert Barker said he would be glad to see a dedicated bike path to Wolcott.

Many area cyclists have complained that the shoulders on Highway 6 are in bad condition or non-existent, and that fast-moving traffic can make the route dangerous.

“I’d use it,” Barker said. “I know a number of other people who don’t ride Highway 6 except for the occasional Sunday when there is no truck traffic.”

However, he added that road bikes tend to go too fast for some bike paths, and he hopes that the new path might be more open. For example, the existing Edwards path is interrupted by several roads and driveways, and is also used by pedestrians, he said.

Caryl said that this path, because it is further from residential areas, will probably “allow for more cruising.”

“It would also coordinate in spots with widened shoulders for more skilled bikers, and the path would still be there for families and such,” Caryl said. “If all goes well, we’ll start next year.”

The Minturn path is a partnership between the town of Minturn and Eco Trails, and is funded by a Colorado Department of Transportation grant. The half-mile path will run from the Forest Service station at Dowd Junction to the bridge just north of Minturn.

The road can be dangerous, especially when families and inexperienced bikers ride the highway road to get to the Minturn market, Caryl said.

“This would help with people who are uncomfortable riding on the shoulders,” she said. “This one looks good to go next year.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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