Letter: Solving Eagle’s traffic woes
If you live in or around the town of Eagle, you know that we have a traffic problem. In the morning, cars from south and west of town travel to Interstate 70 and head upvalley. After work, the same cars travel west on I-70 and head back to their homes south and west of Eagle. Our traffic problems occur because this traffic gets backed up, both morning and evening, at the Eby Creek Road and Highway 6 roundabout.
With this picture in mind, I headed for the Eagle Planning Commission meeting last Tuesday to learn more about the proposed I-70 east Eagle interchange. The town staff and an independent traffic consultant made an excellent presentation relating to the traffic impact of Eagle River Station and the proposed east Eagle interchange. In spite of the technical nature of the study, it was put forth in such a way that most of it was understandable. The part I didn’t understand was their conclusion that by building the east Eagle interchange, it would be possible to accommodate the additional traffic generated by Eagle River Station and still have an improvement in the level of service at the Highway 6 roundabout. How is it possible to add part of the traffic generated by 581 residential units, 555,000 square feet of retail space and a 150-room hotel to the already crowded Highway 6 roundabout and improve the situation? I don’t believe it is possible, just like I don’t believe that you can squeeze 50l pounds of potatoes into a 25-pound sack.
There seems to be a consensus that Trinity Red, the developer of Eagle River Station, would be paying to have the east Eagle interchange built. That is not the case. Trinity Red would only be responsible for arranging for the financing of that interchange through a bond offering. Those bonds would be paid back over the next 20 years with tax dollars collected from Eagle River Station. The taxpayers would pay for that interchange, not Trinity Red. If the taxpayers are going to pay for an interchange, why not put it between Eagle and Gypsum so it would be accessible by all of those cars coming from the south and west of Eagle and currently backing up at the Highway 6 roundabout? Eagle Ranch is only half built-out. When those remaining homes are finished this traffic nightmare is only going to get worse. An “airport exit” would alleviate much of that future pressure.
At some point, an east Eagle interchange may have merit. However, for now, it only represents a colossal expenditure of taxpayer funds with little or no benefit to the community.
Urge your elected officials in Eagle and Gypsum to figure out a way that those towns could cooperate to offer the bonds necessary for building the “airport exit”. If we’re going to pay to build an interchange, let’s put it where it will do some good!
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