URA projects kick off second year with intersection replacement
By Brandon Gee (Contact) - Reporter Steambaot Pilot & TODAY
Friday, April 25, 2008
Steamboat Springs — City officials hope replacing the intersection of Mount Werner Circle and Après Ski Way with a roundabout will improve traffic flow and make the area safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Work on the intersection began Monday and will continue through mid-September. “This intersection showed from a traffic analysis that it needed some control,” said Joe Kracum, the city’s coordinator for public improvement projects at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.
Kracum said the intersection is difficult for motorists who want to turn left off Après Ski Way onto Mount Werner Circle and is not pedestrian friendly. Kracum said adding control to an intersection means one of two options: traffic lights or a roundabout.
“There wasn’t too much favor for a traffic light,” Kracum said.
The finished product will include new sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and ramps, street lighting and drainage improvements. The city also hopes the project will create more of a village feel around the ski base since roundabouts force vehicles to slow down.
Derick Duckels of construction contractor Duckels Construction added that the new intersection will be flatter and much safer than an intersection that currently requires motorists on Après Ski Way to come to a complete stop on a steep hill, which can be problematic in winter.
The Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority, an urban renewal authority created in 2005 by the Steamboat Springs City Council, is funding the $2.2 million project. The project will require the closure of Après Ski Way near the intersection for about three weeks. There will be as many as 30 workers on the site at certain times, Duckels said. Work is allowed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, but Duckels said work usually will wrap up by 5 or 6 p.m.
“Saturdays are few and far between and only when no special events are going on,” he said.
The scheduled completion date for the project is Sept. 15. Kracum and Duckels said they expect the project to be less invasive and problematic than the URA’s first project last year on Ski Time Square Drive.
“The conflicts here are about a tenth of what they were,” Duckels said.
When construction workers hit utility lines in unexpected locations last year, a costly Internet outage drew the ire of area businesses.
Similar interruptions should be expected this summer, but Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said efforts are being made to keep them to a minimum. Also, DuBord said the city will increase utility capacity while the intersection is torn up.
“We’ve made a concerted effort to make sure the utility companies are really involved,” DuBord said. “We’re going to put a lot of additional pipe in the ground so we don’t have to cut the pavement again for quite some time.”
Jay Gallagher, general manager of Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, said one water valve and one fire hydrant will be replaced as part of the project, resulting in one or two short service outages.
District Engineer Richard Buccino said units on the north side of Eagle Ridge Drive — such as Eagle Ridge Lodge & Townhomes, Evergreens Townhomes and the east part of Stonewood Townhomes — will be affected.
“Those, we think, are going to be out of water for less than half a day’s time,” Buccino said.
“Generally, the contractor will put tags on people’s doors to let people know about the outage,” Gallagher added.
Kracum said water is the only utility that workers plan to disturb this summer, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be unexpected conflicts.
“As we know from last year, you never know what you’re going to find when you get underground,” he said.
Phone messages left Thursday with Comcast and Yampa Valley Electric Association were not returned.
Far from worrying about the potential side effects construction could have on his business this summer, Market on the Mountain owner Bill Stuart is thrilled with all the hungry customers laboring at his doorstep. Construction of One Steamboat Place also is under way, and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. is expected to take on construction projects this summer.
“It is actually really good for us because summers are slow for us,” Stuart said. “Construction and Triple Crown are the major part of our summer business.”
The city’s construction team is holding weekly construction meetings at 8:30 a.m. Fridays at the Snowflower Condominiums. For more information about the project, call Kracum at 871-7077.
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