I-70 plan surprises some in East Vail | VailDaily.com

I-70 plan surprises some in East Vail

Kristen Anderson/Vail DailyA truck passes in front of the Bald Mountain neighborhood Tuesday on Interstate 70 in Vail. Residents are concerned about plans to widen the shoulder so truckers can remove snow chains there.

VAIL, Colorado ” For years, residents of Vail’s Bald Mountain Road neighborhood have wanted a longer barrier in front of their homes to block interstate noise.

But they recently found out they may get more changes from the state transportation department than they want.

The department has plans to widen the shoulder of Interstate 70 next to their neighborhood to create a place for truckers to remove their snow chains after coming down Vail Pass.

Department of Transportation engineer Martha Miller said the agency is pushing for more chain-removal areas statewide following the October death of a trucker who was hit on the interstate in East Vail while removing his chains.

But some residents are concerned about the lights, fumes and noise that might come with the chain-removal area.

“It will in essence create a truck stop,” said Stephen Connolly, a neighborhood resident.

Connolly said he hopes an extended barrier, or “berm,” will block those disturbances. The residents will meet with the Department of Transportation today.

“We don’t anticipate this to become an issue,” Connolly said. “We just want to make sure it doesn’t.”

Other residents said they’d prefer to see the chain-removal area moved somewhere else ” perhaps near the town shopyard.

“It would be nice if was farther west,” said Reggie O’Brien, another neighborhood resident.

Miller said the site of the chain-removal area isn’t up for discussion.

In addition, the plans for sand storage ” much of which is pulled from Black Gore Creek ” have homeowners concerned, too.

A sand berm has already been built along the interstate, and homeowners want it extended. But Department of Transportation plans show a mountain of sand that’s bigger and wider than what some neighbors want.

Drawings show that the agency plans to fill a meadow near the homes with a 50-foot-tall pile of sand.

“It would basically take away that meadow over there,” said Rocky Christopher, another neighborhood resident.

The meadow is owned by the town, but isn’t designated open space.

Miller said the plans are preliminary, and the department will work with homeowners and the town of Vail to negotiate the size and shape of the berm.

“The berm isn’t cast in stone right now,” Miller said.

Homeowners say they found out about the chain-removal area just a few weeks ago. More than anything, they want more information about what the plans really are.

“There’s really potential for it to work for everyone,” O’Brien said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

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