Keeping the chaos in control
VAIL ” Construction trucks be warned ” don’t track mud on Leonard Sandoval’s streets.
“My biggest pet peeve is dirty streets,” said Sandoval, the town of Vail employee who coordinates the dozens of big projects that have turned Vail into a massive construction zone.
Last year, the town had five big, “two-year” projects. This year, that number has tripled to 15 with projects such as Solaris, the Front Door, the Willows, the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons under way.
Sandoval works with construction companies to coordinate all of the trucks bringing in concrete, steel and other supplies, plus all of the trucks hauling away dirt and debris. He also must make sure dust isn’t wafting out of construction sites and dirt isn’t left on Vail streets. Making sure firetrucks can access the sites is another problem he must solve.
“It is definitely a jigsaw puzzle,” Sandoval said.
All the while, Sandoval ” working with other town employees ” must make sure there are places for pedestrians to walk.
That was tough last Friday in Lionshead, where the sidewalk was torn up so snow-melting equipment could be installed. On the left was the giant Arrabelle at Vail Square project, and on the right was the smaller Lifthouse remodel project.
There was a narrow path lined with mats for pedestrians.
“If it was one project it would be no big deal,” Sandoval said. “Three projects in one area? That gets to be extreme.”
Keith Gillming, site superintendent with Shaw Construction for the Vail Plaza Hotel and Club, said his company coordinates with Sandoval when his workers are doing construction on adjacent streets.
“Leonard’s very pleasant to deal with, most of the time,” Gillming said. “He’s got his moments when he needs to get on us when we’re doing something that affects traffic.”
Sandoval knows firsthand that the amount of construction in Vail today is unprecedented.
Born in Leadville, Sandoval grew up in Red Cliff. His father worked for the Gilman Mine and his mother cared for homes in Vail when it was much smaller.
“I remember when it was lots of fields, a cabin here and a cabin there,” said Sandoval, who now lives in Gypsum.
The current spate of construction in Vail has been dubbed its “billion-dollar renewal.”
When he describes the construction on maps of Vail Village and Lionshead, he points to building after building, describing the plans for each one.
“It’s an exciting time, there’s no doubt,” Sandoval said.
With all of the construction, there is construction fatigue, Sandoval said.
“It’s a battle because people get kind of sick and tired of construction,” he said.
Lots of meetings are the way to assuage those feelings, Sandoval said. He meets with residents and business owners regularly.
“The more they know, the better off they are,” he said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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