Vail Valley bike path is ‘shovel ready’ |

Vail Valley bike path is ‘shovel ready’

Dustin Racioppi
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” It’s a strong possibility that by the end of this summer, a Vail Valley bike path connecting Dowd Junction to Minturn, Colorado will no longer be a plan, but a reality.

Though final approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation is pending, local officials are confident that since the path project fits ‘shovel ready’ status, it ” along with other local transportation projects ” will be granted economic stimulus funding.

“The good thing about this project is (it) has to be done by the end of the year and we can do that,” said Ellie Caryl, ECO Trails Project Manager. “I would say it looks like we have some stimulus money coming to the valley.”

The bike path project, which would extend an existing path on U.S. Highway 6 about 1,300 feet to around the area of the county bridge in Minturn ” which is just south of the U.S. Forest Service building ” has already been through initial engineering plans.

“This project has been designed and it’s ready to go out to bid,” Minturn’s interim Town Manager, Gary Suiter, said.

The town had planned on a federal grant administered by the department of transportation to make the project happen. That would have required a $75,000 contribution from the town, though.

According to ECO Trails Committee member Dick Cleveland, the town will now be free of that financial burden and the trails committee can clear the project from its to-do list.

“It’s something we’ve been trying to do and it got moved down on the priority list because of funding,” Cleveland said. “The ability to tap in to stimulus funds has bumped that up. It would not have been able to happen without these funds.”

However, Suiter is staying cautious and said he won’t change the town’s plan for the path until he sees that the stimulus money is a guarantee.

If the funding does come through, he said it’s great news for the town and would help move forward the larger plan, which is to have the path extend through Minturn up to Red Cliff. Cleveland said the Ginn Co. has promised to help finance the extension of the path.

“It’s sort of a short stretch, but it’s a very important part,” Suiter said. “That’s how these projects get done. You just start building the pieces, you connect them together, until you get them done.”

Funding details from CDOT are expected to come later next week.

Staff writer Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or

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