State’s ‘Your Transportation Plan’ has few surprises | VailDaily.com
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State’s ‘Your Transportation Plan’ has few surprises

Plan identifies problems and problem areas, but there's no funding for improvements

Eagle County is in the state's intermountain transportation planning region.
   

EAGLE COUNTY — After several months of public comment, the Colorado Department of Transportation is about halfway through what it calls “Your Transportation Plan.” There aren’t many surprises, and there isn’t much funding.

Residents in the state’s intermountain planning region — which includes Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin, Lake and Summit counties — identified road conditions and maintenance, safety, growth and congestion, lack of travel options and freight as the biggest needs in the area.

That’s no surprise.

The question, then, is what transportation officials will do with what they’ve learned.

Margaret Bowes is the director of the I-70 Coalition, a nonprofit association of governments and business interests on the Interstate 70 corridor between Eagle County and the west end of the Denver metropolitan area.

Bowes said while there don’t seem to be any surprises in the report, it does reflect what she heard at public outreach meetings.

The study “reconfirms what we think are the issues,” Bowes said.

While the state is working to understand what residents around the state want, there are far more needs and wants than available dollars.

“There are lots of projects ready to go, and no way to fund them,” Bowes said.

Two of those unfunded projects are in the I-70 corridor, and they’re both expensive.

An extensive redo of I-70 from the top of Floyd Hill westbound to U.S. Highway 6 in Clear Creek Canyon is at the top of the list.

Second on the list is a renovation plan for I-70 from the top of Vail Pass to East Vail.

Those projects are the top priorities on the corridor, Bowes said. But each project’s cost could be $500 million or more, she added.

While there’s little in the way of funded improvements in the current plan, Eagle County Engineer Ben Gerdes said planning is always a good thing.

Gerdes noted that 2009 work on the Edwards interchange was possible because plans were ready when funding became available.

“It seems like these projects, if they get some (planning) momentum, have a better chance of finding funding,” Gerdes said.

Work on this plan is “kind of a first step,” Gerdes said. “It can feed into other programs.”

For more information, go to http://www.YourTransportationPlan.com.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.


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