Letter: Let’s get going on Glenwood Canyon alternatives
Last Saturday, the Vail-Eagle Valley Rotary Club celebrated its 50th anniversary (a year late due to COVID) at the home of one of its members in Edwards. As one of the past presidents, I was invited to attend. With Glenwood Canyon closed, I knew it would be challenging, but given the opportunity to reconnect with some old friends and the encouragement from my wife, I went. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed seeing folks I hadn’t seen in many years.
I digress, when the construction of the four-lane highway through Glenwood Canyon began in 1980, there were many of us in Eagle County and perhaps from other places on the Western Slope, who thought it most expedient to improve the road over Cottonwood Pass between Gypsum and Highway 82 near Carbondale where traffic and construction could proceed unimpeded. Alas, the powers that be at that time elected to continue to route traffic through the canyon, resulting in countless hours of delays for both the travelers and the construction crews.
Today, there is renewed interest in improving Cottonwood Pass. Driving over and back, I was reminded of the physical challenges confronting the construction of a route passable for autos, much less semis. That said, there may be an even larger impediment. I was astounded at the number of homes that have been built since I last traversed the pass over 20 years ago. It shouldn’t be surprising as the populations of Eagle and Garfield Counties are 4 and 3 times, respectively, what they were in 1980.
I believe, as I did in 1980, a shorter, year-round alternative route for Glenwood Canyon must be developed. Given the challenges of the terrain and what I perceive will be reluctance or even resistance of residents along the route, sooner is better. Let’s get going!
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