Senator wants better road from Gypsum |

Senator wants better road from Gypsum

Donna Gray

GYPSUM – If the decision was up to state Sen. Jack Taylor, there’d be a highway over Cottonwood Pass linking Gypsum and the Roaring Fork Valley.Taylor, a Republican from Steamboat Springs who represents Eagle County, put in his two cents’ worth this weekend at a Colorado Department of Transportation hearing in which the public was invited to comment on a state plan to reduce traffic on the mountain stretch of I-70.Cottonwood Pass was once considered as the actual route of I-70 back in the 1960s when the interstate was built. Now, with all the rockfall and accidents that tie up Glenwood Canyon, it only makes sense to have a bypass there, Taylor said. As it stands now, the route is passable only with four-wheel drive when it’s wet.Taylor said his hometown doesn’t mind having the added visitors when the canyon is closed, as it is the only bypass around the canyon, but he didn’t think the visitors felt the same way.The state, however, has other ideas and Cottonwood Pass isn’t currently included in them. Transportation planner Zac Graves said the drive from Glenwood Springs to Denver could, which now takes between three and four hours, could climb to six hours by 2025 without improvements to I-70.Graves said the need for a new and improved interstate is population and employment growth in the mountain counties west of Denver. Most of the population growth is driven by “recreation and second-home ownership,” he said. He pointed out that there are more than 200 recreation sites, notably in the White River and Arapaho National Forests, along I-70, as well as 15 major ski areas.Vail, Colorado

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