Half-baked half-diamond | VailDaily.com
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Half-baked half-diamond

Don Rogers

People 10 years from now will scratch their heads and wonder what in the world got into these folks’ heads. Engineering studies – the wonders of science, or at least projected (that is to say, made up) future traffic numbers – have trumped good sense this time.

Oh, the Minturn westbound exit, “dangerous” as we’re told it is, will still be there, and just as dangerous. Never mind dealing with perceived problems at the root.

Why the comparatively narrow and tiny burgs of Eagle-Vail and Avon need three interchanges within little more than a mile is a mystery that the bogey man Big Traffic cannot possibly live up to.

How an off-ramp from Vail and on-ramp to Vail will “solve” the supposed traffic woes to come doesn’t make sense, all apologies to earnest engineering studies, which by the way came before plans emerged for a full-fledged interchange little more than half a mile away.

This has more the whiff of the pork barrel, along with some classic bureaucratic stubbornness, than a solid solution. If the traffic to come in Eagle-Vail and Avon is the challenge, the half-a-loaf interchange will hardly make a dent. Much better – again – to deal with the problem where it exists. Widen the side roads, folks. Is that really so difficult a concept? Hello.

Never mind the aura of outdated studies – just drive though the area to understand the half-diamond just isn’t the answer, for now and that far-off future.

But no matter. The interchange will be built. That wasted $6 million won’t, ohmygod, go to another county. And a lot of folks in Eagle-Vail will have the rather grim pleasure of someday telling the two commissioners who made up the majority in this decision, “Told you so.”

So how is it that Glenwood Springs, serving the traffic from residents and tourists in the entire Roaring Fork Valley, has managed with just two I-70 interchanges all these years? If Avon needs three, surely Glenwood should have five, six, seven or more. What’s wrong with their engineers anyway?

Meanwhile, just a few miles west of Avon, one interchange continues to serve the still growing Edwards area, which has and will continue to have a higher population than Avon and Eagle-Vail. What passes for the working logic in these matters would no doubt dictate a second interchange at, say, Wolcott to compensate. And we’re quite sure these engineers can come up with the numbers to support it.

Sorry, this is the stuff of a hilarious “Saturday Night Live” skit. What a joke.

D.R.


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