West Vail Pass project on I-70 enters public comment period | VailDaily.com

West Vail Pass project on I-70 enters public comment period

Public comment is now being taken on a plan to improve Interstate 70 on the west side of Vail Pass.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has released recommendations to improve safety and operations on west Vail Pass on Interstate 70. Virtual public engagement will continue through Oct. 21. The department welcomes input on all projects and feedback is encouraged during the virtual public engagement period.

 The Proposed Action is a package of improvements including an eastbound and westbound auxiliary lane on I-70 on the west side of Vail Pass in Eagle County, from the East Vail exit (Mile Point 180) to the Vail Pass Rest Area (Mile Point 190).

Other improvements include a widened inside shoulder, reconstruction of tight curves, wildlife underpasses and fencing, water quality improvements, truck ramp and parking enhancements, median glare screens and relocation of two miles of the recreation path that is currently next to I-70. The latest technology will be used to add variable speed limit and message signs and a way to close the pass immediately when needed through a remote system.

A detailed description and evaluation of the proposed action has been documented in the Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) Evaluation, which considers benefits, impacts, and proposed mitigation for numerous environmental and community resources. The assessment and Section 4(f) Evaluation can be found on the project web page: http://www.bit.ly/WestVailPass.

Due to current limitations on public events during the COVID-19 pandemic transportation officials will provide a virtual opportunity for public engagement. A video summarizing the study, findings, and next steps is available on the project web page and printed copies are available two locations in Vail. Community members are invited to view this at these materials at their convenience before submitting a comment. Public comments can be submitted any time during the public review period. 

Printed copies are available at: 

  • Vail Public Library, 292 West Meadow Drive, Vail.
  • Town of Vail Administration Office, 75 South Frontage Road, Vail

The report will be available for review and comment through Oct. 21. Public input will be considered by state officials and the Federal Highway Administration prior to issuing a decision document to determine if the project can move forward as planned.

 The transportation department has obtained $140.4 million for construction of the first phase of improvements, which could begin in 2021. Funding includes a $60.7 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant awarded this summer by the U.S. Department of Transportation. If the project moves forward, state transportation officials will continue to pursue additional funding to complete the rest of the project.

To learn more about the project, join the mailing list, or submit comments, go to http://www.bit.ly/WestVailPass. Comments can also be provided via email at cdot_wvailpassauxlanes@state.co.us, the project hotline phone number, 970-331-0200 or by mail to the Colorado Department of Transportation, attn: John Kronholm, P.O. Box 298, Eagle 81631-0298.

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