Heavy snow sets "big boxes’ back
The cold and snow is preventing them from finishing before winter, however,as well as pushing back the grand opening of The Home Depot and Wal-Mart Supercenter, though the stores are still expected to open ahead of schedule, says Shane Bohart, the project’s director of development.
“The monumental snow has hindered our paving and we concluded it was best served for the quality of the work to complete the paving in spring of next year,” Bohart says. “That will delay slightly our grand opening, but we still hope to have the stores open earlier than originally planned.”
Work progressed so rapidly this summer that the developer, Traer Creek, announced the two stores could open this spring. The stores will likely be ready to open then, but the roads, bridges and roundabouts leading to them won’t be done because it will be too cold to pave, says Larry Brooks, Avon assistant town manager.
“They did a yeoman’s job, but they’re going to be stopped on a number of things,” Brooks says. “I know they might have been disappointed, but if it snows 3 feet tonight, I’ll be happy.”
The heavy snow that has held up the workers, has, of course, thrilled mountain managers at Vail and Beaver Creek, as well as just about every other skier or snowboarder in the valley.
One of the most visible Village at Avon projects is the roundabout and replacement bridge being built at the intersection of U.S. Highway 6 and Nottingham Ranch Road, just east of the Eagle-Vail Shop “n’ Hop. Traffic has frequently backed up at the intersection as large work trucks drive in and out of the complex and other work is done.
“We’ve been diligently working as fast as we can to be less of a nuisance,” Bohart says. “Though we accelerated our schedule, Mother Nature won out.”
Traffic has currently been re-routed slightly to the south so workers can build the north-half of the roundabout. The plan was to then shove traffic north so work could begin on the southern half of the traffic circle. That may not happen until next spring.
But work can continue through the winter on the new four-lane bridge being built over the Eagle River. Workers also will be able to demolish the old Nottingham Road Bridge while the snow is falling, Bohart says.
The northern exit of the roundabout will take drivers over the bridge, under the railroad tracks and to the stores’ parking lots on a new four-lane road called Post Boulevard, named after the developer’s lawyer and longtime valley resident, Bill Post.
The Wal-Mart Supercenter, at 187,000 square feet, will be about two-and-half times the size of the Avon Wal-Mart. Along with a department store, the Supercenter will include a full-service supermarket. The Home Depot hardware store is 118,000 square feet. Developer Traer Creek has approval to build an additional 350,000 square feet of retail space around the two stores.
Post Boulevard runs past the big boxes to a new Interstate 70 interchange, another highly visible part of the construction. Since September, drivers have been detoured off the freeway and onto the tops of the interchange’s new ramps while two I-70 bridges are rebuilt. Bohart says drivers will be routed back onto the freeway in the next two weeks.
“The I-70 interchange is also proceeding ahead of schedule,” Bohart says. “We’ll move traffic onto the new bridges by Thanksgiving.”
Paving, as well as the remaining roadwork, is scheduled to start up again on April 1, Bohart says.
“Hopefully, we’ll be in position to open the stores in early summer,” he says.
Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.