Halting progress for Vail underpass

Board: Vail Town Council, Tuesday’s evening meeting.

Present: Jenn Bruno, Greg Moffet, Ludwig Kurz, Margaret Rogers, Dave Chapin, Dale Bugby, Mayor Andy Daly.

What they talked about: The latest ideas for a proposed link of the town’s frontage roads under Interstate 70 between the main Vail and west Vail interchanges.

Who they talked to: Representatives of homeowner associations at the Savoy Villas and Simba Run condominiums, town engineer Tom Kassmel and Steve Olson, of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

What they talked about: Kassmel showed council members drawings of a proposed alignment for the underpass. Kassmel said the drawings of this version work to both slow traffic and allow interstate-capable large trucks to navigate the two roundabouts without getting stuck.

Support Local Journalism

The prospect of big trucks using the roundabouts has raised red flags for owners at Savoy Villas and Simba Run, who worry that they’ll be subjected to more smoke, noise and lights from them. Association representatives Charlie Calcaterra and Bob Llewellen both said the new alignment appears to violate the spirit of a May agreement on a proposed design that would keep big trucks away from the roundabouts.

The problem, Olson said, is that the town’s frontage roads are considered part of the federal interstate system, and getting variances to limit truck traffic will be difficult.

Town officials agreed to help lobby the feds to help limit big-truck traffic on the frontage roads. But, Daly said, building roundabouts that big trucks can’t navigate “is not in anyone’s interest.”

What’s next? Kassmel will continue working on the most recent underpass design while looking for a way to limit problems big trucks can create. Town and state officials will also try to find a way to restrict big trucks from using the underpass.

— Business Editor Scott N. Miller

Support Local Journalism