Traffic will grow, with or without Ginn
Vail CO, Colorado
MINTURN”Judy Trujillo remembers when a driver could make a U-turn near the Minturn Saloon, but now it’s illegal because of the non-stop cars, she said.
If Ginn comes to town, she doesn’t think she could handle the traffic, said Trujillo, Minturn resident for 46 years.
“That highway is narrow as it is,” she said.
Minturn’s traffic would increase by almost half in the next 16 years if the town approved Ginn’s project, according to Ginn’s projections. When added together, an average of 2,930 more vehicle per day would pass through Minturn by 2023, up from 5,992 in 2006, according to a study conducted by Ginn. Even without the development, expect an average of 1,615 more cars per day, the study says.
“The largest growth you’re seeing is regional traffic,” said Sam Otero, engineer for Ginn.
The projections include traffic coming to and from construction on the Ginn property, job commuters from Leadville, employees, tourists, residents and others, Otero said.
The Colorado Department of Transportation reviews and approves traffic studies like Ginn’s, said James Nall, traffic engineer for the agency. This study is more complicated and would take longer to evaluate because the resort will use shuttles and gondolas, he said.
Ginn has been “more than willing” to provide the department with information, Nall said.
“Working with the engineering team, I’m pretty comfortable we will be in agreement,” he said.
Ginn will continue to monitor traffic after the development is built, as it has at Hammock Beach, a Ginn development in Florida, Otero said. Minturn could request that Ginn monitor it every year, he said.
Ginn has held itself to its traffic projections during the two-year construction of a private golf course in Palm Coast, said Phong Nguyen, senior transportation planner for Palm Coast, Fla. The city counts traffic annually, he said.
If traffic exceeded Ginn’s projections, they would contribute to a fund Minturn could use to make improvements, Otero said. With the money, Minturn could build crosswalks and sidewalks, operate public transportation, all of which improve congestion, he said.
Ginn has not decided on a formula to determine the cost of exceeding its projections, he said.
Unlike businesses in Vail or Beaver Creek, Ginn will not have to draw as many people as possible to the resort, Otero said. It would have a set number of guests, he said.
Therefore, Ginn can predict the number of cars that would run through Highway 24 with more precision, he said.
However, construction traffic would be harder to predict, he said.
Ginn’s thinks it will need 200,000 truck trips to import and export material over three years of construction, the study says. That’s 137 truck trips per day traveling from both directions to and from the development on Highway 24, the study says.
That number of trucks could decrease if Ginn secures an agreement with Union Pacific to use the railroad through Minturn to transport material, Otero said.
Ginn would use five buses to transport workers for a total of 20 trips per day, the study says. Some workers would use their own vehicles, he said.
Workers taking a shuttle would park off the Ginn property. Ginn does not know exactly where because it does not know yet where the workers will come from, he said.
Ginn would construct the development in phases to reduce traffic, which would be greatest in the summer, Otero said.
If approved, the construction could take about 20 years, with the hazardous waste site cleanup of the Bolts Lake area coming first, said Cliff Thompson, spokesman for Ginn. A year later, Ginn would begin building condominiums and homes. The peak of the construction could take place between 2015 and 2020, he said.
Ginn began a traffic study for Red Cliff on Feb. 28 to determine the amount of traffic there, Otero said. He expects the initial results in one month, he said.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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