Vail Valley: Obama money to build Edwards roundabouts
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” The Vail Valley has landed a sizable chunk of federal highway spending. The biggest part will be in Edwards Colorado
The project at Edwards, budgeted at $11 million, will build three roundabouts at the Edwards Interstate 70 interchange. Work is expected to begin in 2010, and should take one or two years to complete.
Martha Miller, the Colorado Department of Transportation engineer in the Eagle office, said the construction timeline is one of the things that will be hammered out over the next several months.
“We’d love to have it done in a year,” Miller said. “But we’ll have to evaluate it further.”
Bob Warner has lived in Edwards since it was considered “downvalley.” He said he was happy to hear that at least some needed work is getting done on the road that links I-70 and U.S. Highway 6.
“I think it’s great news,” Warner said. “It happened a lot quicker than we thought it would.”
State officials had been planning and prioritizing projects since President Obama started pushing for the bill just after his election. But the Edwards interchange wasn’t originally at the top of the list.
“They had a resurfacing plan for $10 million on the list originally,” Eagle County Commissioner Peter Runyon said. “We told them that the resurfacing work was going to be done anyway, and that they should spend the money on this. And they did.”
The Edwards interchange project is one of the “shovel-ready” projects Obama said he wanted to get stimulus money. Over the last few years, Eagle County has done the bulk of the design work on the project, and it’s nearly finished. The project will be complete and ready to advertise to bidders by the end of the year.
“We’re really excited to get Edwards on that list,” Eagle County Engineer Eva Wilson said. “The commissioners were outstanding in highlighting the county’s needs.”
While work at Edwards isn’t expected to start until next year, a couple of other local projects will start before the next new year.
A parking area for big trucks at Dotsero is half completed now on the northwest side of the interchange. The second phase of that project that will put lights, signs and communications equipment at the area will be funded with federal money.
On the far east end of the county, federal money will also pay to resurface about 14 miles of interstate between Vail Pass and Silverthorne.
A proposed interchange and road linking the Eagle County Regional Airport to the interstate didn’t land on the state’s priority list, but Eagle County Commissioner Jon Stavney said that project may actually get done some day.
“Peter (Runyon) is going to Washington next week to hand-deliver letters about it,” Stavney said. Those letters are address to Eagle County’s U.S. representative, Jared Polis, and U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.
“We’re making the effort to get it,” Stavney said.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or email@example.com.