Newly completed Gypsum roundabout includes a late addition that should lessen traffic

The Schoolside Road Roundabout project is now complete in Gypsum. A new access point will be constructed on the north side of the roundabout.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Gypsum has several new roundabouts planned for the years to come, with construction wrapping up on the first one this month.

That roundabout, known as the Schoolside Road Roundabout, was not originally planned to connect with anything to the north. But an opportunity presented itself during construction when the Colorado Department of Transportation took advantage of an existing right-of-way by creating an ad-hoc road connecting to the Ridley’s Family Market grocery store.

With that ad-hoc road already in use, Town Engineer Jerry Law made Gypsum Town Manager Jeremy Rietmann an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“For, I think, about $8,000 worth of rotomill and a $5,000 culvert — so pretty inexpensively — we are just going to go ahead and connect that roundabout to the grocery store,” Rietmann informed the Town Council earlier this month.

That access point could relieve pressure during the construction of another roundabout project expected to take place in the coming years in Gypsum, a roundabout just west of the new Schoolside Road Roundabout at Valley Road and U.S. Highway 6.

Support Local Journalism

“When this Highway 6-Valley Road roundabout project goes in, that is going to be a challenge with traffic,” Rietmann said.

But with the new access to the north of the Schoolside Road Roundabout, “you can still get all of your western neighborhoods to the grocery store,” Rietmann noted.

A conceptional drawing from the town of Gypsum’s 2017 master plan envisions what the town would look like with both Highway 6 roundabouts and infill development completed in the area between the two roundabouts.
Courtesy image

The road also allows the town to study traffic patterns to the north of Highway 6 in anticipation of future development in the area, Rietmann said.

Gypsum’s 2017 Master Plan identifies the area north of Highway 6 from Valley Road to Schoolside Road as a location that could be desirable for the establishment of a “Main Street” presence and retail or commercial town center.

The plan labels the Oak Ridge Drive, Oak Ridge Court and Crestwood Drive area as “the Market area” and says the Highway 6 and Valley Road intersection is a natural “Main and Main” intersection for the town.

The new road will help the town “analyze what it does to traffic patterns over the next couple of years as we get moving towards doing the Valley Road-Highway 6 roundabout, and it would also give us an option, if we wanted to actually pave that in anticipation of future development,” Rietmann said. “Or maybe we don’t, because of future development, because we want to get it in the right location.”

“I think it would be intriguing to figure out what it does to traffic patterns to have that access onto Crestwood,” Rietmann added. “It’s kind of a temporary completion of Crestwood, and it was so inexpensive since they were already mobilized, so I said go ahead and do it and see how it functions.”

Work is underway on the box culvert portion of a new roundabout project in Gypsum near Exit 140 on Interstate 70.
Courtesy image

In addition to the Highway 6 roundabouts, construction also began over the summer on the box culvert portion of a roundabout project underway on the north side of I-70 at exit 140.

In June, the town accepted a bid of $609,780 from Hallmark Inc. for the box culvert, which is phase one of that roundabout project. Phase one had been budgeted to be completed this year as part of a more than $10 million package of capital improvements the town put forth in its 2023 budget.

Want the news to come to you? Get the top stories in your inbox every morning. Sign up here:

But the project hit delays as the town wasn’t satisfied with its first round of bidding, which only yielded one offer, making a more robust effort to attract more bids in a second round of bidding.

“We’ll reprice, regroup and submit that for the 2024 budget to complete the project,” said Assistant Town Manager Jim Hancock.

A previous version of this story had the wrong agency credited with the offer to construct the new road north of the Schoolside Road Roundabout; the idea came from Town Engineer Jerry Law, not CDOT.

Support Local Journalism