You’ll be stuck in I-70 traffic a little longer |

You’ll be stuck in I-70 traffic a little longer

Melanie Wong
Vail CO, Colorado
Preston Utley/Vail DailyA motorcycle passes commuters on the shoulder Wednesday during a traffic jam along eastbound I-70 east of Avon.

VAIL ” There is no escaping it, said Vail resident Chuck Plourde.

It takes Plourde 20 minutes to get past the interstate construction in Dowd Junction in the morning, but lunchtime is the worst, he said.

Plourde, who delivers construction materials and equipment, said he has to drive through the area all day.

“I don’t understand why they don’t do it at night,” he said.

Valley residents will have to put up with the crawling traffic between Vail and the Eagle-Vail exit on I-70 for a few more weeks, a Colorado Department of Transportation official said.

The traffic in the three-mile stretch between east Edwards and Dowd Canyon is caused lane closures as construction crews replace the barrier between the lanes. The work, which started almost two-and-a-half months ago, should be done by the end of August, said Peter Kozinski, a Department of Transportation engineer.

Workers are replacing the barrier with a taller one so that drivers will not be blinded by the headlights of the opposing traffic. That has been the leading cause of accidents in that area, Kozinski said.

When construction is over there will also be new pavement on the road between Edwards and Vail.

The construction has taken longer than originally thought because of problems with labor shortages and getting quality materials, Kozinski said. The delays caused by the work have also been worse than anticipated.

“We’ve seen such an increase in traffic in this area that there’s really no good time to do the work,” he said. “We are trying our best to make this as slight of an impact as possible.”

Kozinski said road paving requires a certain temperature and it gets too cold here at night to do the work then. However, for next year, barrier work will definitely be done at night, he said. They are also thinking of doing all construction between Labor Day and the winter season to avoid summer traffic, he said.

Edwards resident Terry O’Brien said the delays have really affected the company he works for ” O’Brien is manager for Vail Valley Taxi, and he said the traffic can seriously delay his drivers.

“It’s a bit of a hassle. All the (drivers) are affected by it all the time. But it’s just the way it is and we have to deal with it,” he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or

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