Traffic may thicken west of Glenwood |

Traffic may thicken west of Glenwood

Dennis Webb
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson/Post IndependentReports predict a lot more local traffic congestion in coming decades in the Glenwood Springs area.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” By the year 2035, Interstate 70 between Glenwood Springs and Silt can be expected to join Highway 82 as a congested road with rush-hour delays.

A significant increase in truck traffic also will take place on area highways, with truck volumes on highways 82, 13 and 133 reaching levels comparable to those on Interstate 70 now.

Those projections are included in the draft of a 2035 transportation plan for Colorado’s Intermountain region, which includes Garfield, Pitkin, Summit, Eagle and Lake counties.

That plan is part of a draft statewide plan that forecasts a $151 billion funding gap between anticipated transportation needs and projected revenue from 2008 to 2035.

Without new funding, the plan says, the average driver on the state’s congested routes would experience daily delays of nearly 70 minutes, up from 22 minutes today.

Only a quarter of the state’s roadways would have a good or fair rating, compared to 60 percent now. Sixty percent of bridges would be in good or fair shape, down from 94 percent.

“Transportation revenues are not keeping pace with the projected growth, aging infrastructure and rising construction costs,” state transportation director Russell George and state Transportation Commission Chairman Douglas Aden say in a cover letter accompanying the report.

The plan predicts that the state’s population will grow from about 5 million today to 7.8 million in 2035. The Western Slope’s population is projected to jump the most during that time ” 84 percent ” causing areas in the region “to experience congestion traditionally found in more urban areas,” the report says.

Highway 13, which is experiencing heavy energy development traffic, averaged 620 to 1,041 trucks per day in 2005, and highways 82 and 133 averaged 331-620 trucks.

The state plan lays out a transportation vision for highways, air travel and mass transit that would cost $227 billion between 2008-35. But anticipated transportation revenue for that period is just $76 billion. Simply to keep conditions as they are would cost $63 billion, the plan says.

The plan estimates the transportation vision for the Intermountain region to be about $28.4 billion through 2035, including $17.7 billion in transit costs and $340 million for aviation. However, under current conditions the planning region is expected to be allocated less than $2 billion over that period.

A panel created by Gov. Bill Ritter is looking at possible options for increasing state transportation revenues.

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