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More traffic cameras to be added between Vail, Frisco

Robert Allen
Summit Daily News
Summit County, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado – Cameras along the local Interstate 70 corridor are to be improved in the coming months as Colorado Department of Transportation plans for installation of at least 10 more.

The road cameras, available through http://www.cotrip.org and http://www.goi70.com as well as a local television station, offer viewers glimpses of traffic and road conditions.

The new cameras are to be installed between Frisco and Vail, as fiber optics over the pass have been extended, said Rodrick Mead, operations manager with Colorado Transportation Management Center.

“Power will be an issue over Vail Pass, so most of them will be on the east side of Vail because (that’s where there’s) power available,” he said. “The west side doesn’t have any power, so we’re going to have to get creative with that.”

About three cameras are already in operation along the highway between Frisco and Vail.

Drivers may have noticed the camera near the truck ramp between Silverthorne and the Eisenhower Tunnel is frequently off-line through the winter months.

“It is currently on solar power, and it works OK in the summertime,” Mead said. “There’s a little heater inside the camera that keeps it from freezing up, and it just really draws down the power.”

He said that “just like starting your car on a cold morning, once it gets really, really cold up there those batteries just don’t really crank like they’re supposed to.”

No ground power comes from the tunnel to the area, but electricity is to be run from a new sign installed nearby – about two-thirds of the way uphill east bound – to provide more consistent power to the camera.

Mead said extending the power also took some time because of the permit process through the U.S. Forest Service. It is expected the camera will be hooked up to consistent power this spring, once enough snow has melted, he said.

Tunnel traffic dips

Tunnel traffic for January – at 1.05 million vehicles – was down slightly from 1.07 million vehicles in January, 2009. The daily average for January was 33,950 relative to 34,489 last year, according to CDOT’s website at http://www.coloradodot.info.

In 2009, a total of 11.74 million vehicles traveled through the tunnel; January, July and August tend to have the highest traffic.

Widening continues along Colorado 9

Highway-widening construction this year is to continue along stretch of Colorado 9 between Frisco and Breckenridge, increasing traffic capacity to four lanes.

The segment between Coyne Valley and Valley Brook roads that began last year is expected to be completed this year.

A second round of federal stimulus money could mean ground breaking on the next segment – from Tiger Road north to Agape Outpost Chapel – to be “shovel-ready” this fall.

“The funding hasn’t been secured, but we are still moving our process along and will be ready to go,” said CDOT spokeswoman Mindy Crane.

This segment would cost an estimated $8 million; the previous one cost about $9.25 million.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or rallen@summitdaily.com.


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