Vail faces big construction season ahead
VAIL — The 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships are officially less than a year away. That means Vail in 2014 will see its busiest construction season in the past few years.
Vail Public Works Department Director Greg Hall recently provided the Vail Town Council with a rundown of this year’s projects, which include:
Frontage Road work
This is the most noticeable work and will have construction crews on both sides of Interstate 70 through much of the spring, summer and fall.
The work starts with a town project to build bicycle lanes — essentially wider shoulders — along North Frontage Road between April and June. Those lanes will stretch roughly from City Market on the west to the Middle Creek apartments on the east.
South Frontage Road will also get wider shoulders, roughly between Donovan Park on the west and Cascade Village on the east.
When finished, Hall said there will be wider shoulders on both sides of I-70 from roughly the Main Vail to West Vail interchanges on the north. On the south, the wider shoulders will run from Donovan Park to about the Vail Resorts shops on the west end of Lionshead.
After the shoulder work is done, the Colorado Department of Transportation will repave both frontage roads, about 11 miles of paving in all, on both sides of I-70. Hall said state crews will do the areas away from the resort villages first, with the work around the villages done in the fall.
South Frontage Road will have median strips installed from the Lionshead parking structure to the Vail Resorts shops.
Frontage Road work continues out to Ford Park and will change entries to the park and add better drainage to keep storm water out of Gore Creek.
Work on the frontage roads will take a break during the GoPro Mountain Games in early June.
More state work
In addition to the frontage roads project, the state transportation agency will also run fiber-optic cable along its I-70 right of way. Hall said the state is running the cable — essential for high-speed Internet — from Vail Pass to Glenwood Springs. The state will provide fiber all the way to the West Vail fire station, which Hall said will complete the town’s fiber-optic backbone.
This project, set to run April though June, then September through November, will improve the skier drop-off area at the entrance to Lionshead on the southwest corner of the parking structure there. Improvements will also be made at the structure to improve traffic circulation.
Crown Castle, which builds cellular phone systems, then leases the equipment to carriers, will finish a big project to upgrade the town’s system this year. The company put up seven small towers, called “nodes,” late last year to improve service in Vail Village and Lionshead. Another 16 nodes will be installed this year. Those nodes will also be used for the town’s free Wi-Fi system.
While the system will improve Vail’s cell service and Wi-Fi system, council member Margaret Rogers said she remains concerned that cell service in town might suffer under the weight of thousands of competitors and spectators.
Town Manager Stan Zemler told Rogers that while the system may be in place, it’s up to cell phone carriers whether or not to use it.
Village welcome center
The town’s welcome center at the top of the Vail Village parking structure will get some extensive renovations this year, including moving the restrooms to the top level. That work is expected to be done during the summer.
The town of Vail and the Colorado Department of Transportation are planning to move forward on a joint storm water treatment project and install four stormwater quality vaults between Donovan Park and the West Vail south roundabout. These vaults will capture and treat runoff from I-70 and the frontage roads prior to entering Gore Creek. The project is estimated to cost approximately $250,000 with almost $100,000 being provided by the state.