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Traffic congestion to continue today

Christine Ina Casillas
Hwy 6 Const. BH 9-4/Friday Photos
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After months of digging up U.S. Highway 6 in Eagle-Vail to install sewer lines, the project finally is coming together.

Today, however, motorists will be faced with the worst backups yet during the project, transportation officials said.

“It’s been a real cluster … if you know what I mean,” said Ron Duran, paving foreman for the Colorado Department of Transportation. “It’s been a real treat coming here to work everyday.”

The cramped corridor of concrete barriers from Stone Creek Drive to the Eagle-Vail Business Center have been pulled back, revealing new pavement on the westbound lanes, which are being completed this week, transportation officials said.

Detour recommended

The changeover, however, has made for little breathing room for cars and cyclists. Transportation officials recommend motorists detour via Interstate 70.

One-lane traffic will be shifted today from the westbound lanes to the eastbound lanes, Duran said. The westbound lane has been striped, and crews are building a crown in the middle of the road to separate traffic.

“We shouldn’t have one-lane traffic at this point,” Scott Christison, superintendent of SEMA Construction, said Thursday. “If travelers can avoid the highway, then we suggest they take the interstate to get through all of this. We’re out here all day long and see the same people traveling through here at least five times, and there’s been a couple of incidents of road rage.

“Drivers need to be patient,” he added. “We all have families, and we all want to get home.”

Utility problems

The transportation department has experienced extensive problems with utilities on this project, which has hampered operations, Christison said.

“We’re going like crazy today, which is going to make for a late, late day,” he said. “We’re committed. It’s going to get done tonight.”

The installation of the sewer lines was supposed to be completed sometime in late June or early July, he said, but the construction crews ran into more problems than expected.

“It’s pure rock and mud under (the highway),” Christison said. “Before we could put the pipes in, we had to make sure the soft spots were moved out. The underground work is finally done.”

Construction crew should have about a week and half of pipe work left, he said.

“It should go faster with the second half than the first half,” he said. “We just ran into so many problems with the utilities, unexpected utilities.”

“Everything … all at once’

About 2,900 feet of sewer lines were to be installed on both sides of the I-70 bridge over Highway 6, and as the project moved east toward the business center the transportation department intended to build a paved detour, away from the Eagle River, officials said.

But during the project, the transportation department has run across many problems with the sewer lines – especially the direction in which they were aligned, Greg Fowles, a CDOT project manager, said earlier this summer.

“We’re just trying to clear up the north half of the highway,” he said.

Christison said crews soon will start from the east end of the project at the Eagle-Vail Business Park to Eaglebend Drive. Then pavers will come into play.

“The guardrails are being installed, the stripers will be here, the sand-blasters will be going – everything will be done all at once,” said Duran. “We’re trying to make (the highway) nicer and bigger for everyone,” he added. “It’ll be a treat.”

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.


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