Why must we ‘fix’ I-70?
Forgive us, for we commit outright blasphemy by asking this question: What’s the big deal about weekend-only traffic congestion between the mountain towns and Denver, really?It’s an article of faith that I-70 gridlock on Friday nights going up to the resort towns during the high seasons and Saturday-Sunday evenings coming back is a big ol’ problem that needs literally billions of dollars to be thrown at it.During the week the trip along I-70 is about as brisk as you dare drive. It’s just that the road wasn’t built for Sundays, and so various alliances were formed to solve the problem while skiers fume and mountain town politicians seek action, so long as that action isn’t widening the highway as the state plans after a four-year, $16 million study.But what is the problem up here, really, if Front Rangers endure frustration trying to get here en masse on weekends? How much more crowded would the ski slopes be if it were so easy for so many to get up here quickly? How terrible is it that some resort to car-pooling, extending weekends, or rescheduling their visits during the work week?For the health of the ski towns, congestion on the highway up here may be a blessing instead of a budding crisis. We might be looking at this thing all wrong.Making it too easy to get here by I-70 could well overwhelm the resorts and communities on already busy-to-burst weekends, while truly driving the out-of-state guests away.Maybe our leaders ought to step back from the somewhat overheated arguments over monorails vs. widening the roadway, both outrageously costly, and consider that overlooked alternative of leaving the highway as it is. Amazingly, that might be the best answer.