Intersection interrupted |

Intersection interrupted

Matt Zalaznick

Data on the question is scarce, but ban on left turns to be imposed soon by traffic engineers in Avon will re-route all the fresh lattes, Whoppers, deli sandwiches and new haircuts headed toward Beaver Creek and U.S. Highway 6.In about two weeks, drivers on Hurd Lane will no longer be allowed to make a left turn onto Avon Road. They will have to turn right, go under the railroad bridge, around a roundabout and back south toward the ski resort and the highway.Drivers heading south on Avon Road, however, still will be allowed to make left turns onto Hurd Lane toward Nottingham Station, home to Burger King, Starbucks, the Avon Bakery & Deli, as well as several residential complexes to the east.Drivers for years have complained that it can take a long time for Avon Road to clear – and even when it does, the left turn is still perilous because the railroad overpass limits vision.”It’s hard to make a left turn; it’s hard to get out of here,” said Sarah Givens of Red Cliff, who was headed into Starbucks Tuesday evening. “There’s just too much traffic.”Givens said she fears one potential solution to the hectic intersection.”We don’t need another roundabout,” she said.Other drivers, however, say they don’t mind the notorious junction.”If you pay attention and know how to drive, there’s no problem,” said Katheryn McKellar of Vail. “I’ve never had any problems – there’s nothing wrong with it.”The Avon Town Council Tuesday thought otherwise. Council members told town engineers to re-stripe the intersection and put up signs telling drivers left turns from Hurd Lane onto Avon Road are forbidden.Councilman Brian Sipes said Wednesday the ban will allow engineers to see how the intersection functions without the left turn. It will be a test run for the long-term solution, which is to connect the median from the bridge to the overpass, closing off the space where drivers now make turns, he said.The closure is planned for when the large, empty piece of land on the west side of Avon Road is developed by Vail Resorts. The company is still designing a small ski village for the parcel, known as “the Confluence.”Forcing drivers to make another trip through the roundabout won’t cost them a lot of time, Sipes said.”If you make right turns off Hurd Lane and go up around the roundabout, it adds maybe 30 seconds to your trip,” Sipes said. “Most people wait at the intersection more than 30 seconds anyway.””I’ve seen some people get pretty frustrated sitting and waiting to make left turn,” he added.Blocking the left turns from Hurd Lane onto Avon Road will leave more room for drivers making lefts into Nottingham Station. There’s room now for only about one-and-a-half cars. When the road is re-striped, there will be room for at least three cars to wait for their cappuccinos and french fries.”It’s difficult coming out of Hurd Lane; it’s a dangerous turn to go left,” Councilman Ron Wolfe said. “And when the roads are slick, if you’re coming out of Starbucks, people have trouble stopping on downgrade.””This should keep traffic flowing,” Wolfe added.But the roundabouts and the Avon Road-Hurd Lane intersection intimidate some. Givens, for example, said she tries to limit her trips through Avon.”I try to avoid it, but I work at Beaver Creek, so I can’t help going through Avon,” she said.The intersection, with its high retaining walls and overpass, even has earned notoriety statewide. Pete Kolbenschlag, from Paonia in western Colorado, said he often stops at Starbucks on his way to Denver.”This intersection’s kind of a pain,” he said.

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