Vail Daily column: Investment sets stage for Edwards project
Over the past decade and with the support of the Edwards community, Eagle County and the Colorado Department of Transportation have made great strides toward improving vehicular and pedestrian access along the Edwards Spur Road. Phase I of a multi-year project included four roundabouts between Berry Creek Road and Miller Ranch Road. The results have provided a successful and sorely needed solution to traffic flow in the area, but there is more work to be done.
The effort to improve access in and out of Edwards began in earnest in 2003, when Eagle County entered into an agreement with the Department of Transportation to design improvements to the Edwards Spur Road, naming it the Edwards Interchange Upgrade Project. In 2004, a conceptual layout was developed and the project was divided into two phases, with Phase I encompassing the area just south of the Interstate 70 interchange to Miller Ranch Road and Phase II stretching from Miller Ranch Road to U.S. Highway 6.
The Phase I design evolved to include an additional roundabout at Berry Creek Road, which was made possible by a land donation from the Berry Creek Metro District. Final cost for the design, construction plans, environmental clearances and right-of-way acquisitions for Phase I totaled $1,015,000, which included a $340,000 contribution from Eagle County, $340,000 from the Edwards Community Authority and $335,000 from the Department of Transportation. Community commitment and strong partnerships allowed this pre-construction work to take place and made us a high priority when opportunity came knocking. The project was ultimately built in 2011 with $9.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, primarily because it was “shovel ready.”
The same process now needs to occur for Phase II. In early September, we authorized $250,000 from our road impact fees to match an additional $250,000 from the Edwards Community Authority and $500,000 from the Department of Transportation. This investment will allow us to bring Phase II to the same shovel-ready state that served us so well in garnering funds for the construction of Phase I.
So far, the Department of Transportation has earmarked $3 million for construction of Phase II of the Edwards Interchange Upgrade Project, based on a traffic analysis commissioned by the Edwards Community Authority and a commitment by the county and the authority for an additional $300,000 each. However, cost for construction will be significantly more, with the current planning estimate at $10 million. Having a shovel-ready project will give us a competitive advantage in securing whatever dollars become available in the future.
There will be ample opportunities for community input throughout the 12 to 18 month process to finalize preparations for Phase II construction. Open houses, public meetings and other outreach efforts are planned, and we invite and encourage you to get involved. Contact County Engineer Eva Wilson at email@example.com to be added to the project email distribution list. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Eagle County commissioners are Sara Fisher, Kathy Chandler-Henry and Jill Ryan.
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