Bicycling Hwy. 6 a ‘game of chicken’ |

Bicycling Hwy. 6 a ‘game of chicken’

Alison Miller
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
A cyclist rides a narrow section of Highway 6 between Edwards and Wolcott. The county is considering widening the road, which many bicyclists say could be safer. (Dominique Taylor/Vail Daily)

EDWARDS ” Marcia Sloan says she holds her breath and prays when she rides her bike on U.S. Highway 6 near the western edge of Edwards.

Sloan worries that when cars pass by they will either hit her or go too far into the oncoming traffic lane and collide with another vehicle, she said.

“It’s like a game of chicken through here,” Sloan said after she sipped from her water bottle on the side of the road.

There were many cyclists on the road Friday soaking up the sunshine. But with heavy trucks parked on one side of the road and lunch-time traffic going back and forth on the other, the cyclists were weaving to avoid a collision.

“Strange, I think, how along some parts of the highway there are very nice accommodations for riding, but others are a nightmare,” Sloan said.

The cyclist’s concern is shared by county officials who are preparing to submit a plan to widen the highway between Squaw Creek Road and Eagle, said Justin Finestone, the county’s communications director.

The county is working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to develop a wish list of construction projects, and that includes adding shoulders along the narrow 16-mile stretch, Finestone said.

“In the next few weeks the commissioners will be meeting with (the Colorado Department of Transportation) to strategize for all the transportation projects we want to have done,” Finestone said. “Highway 6 will be included in those discussions, and it is a priority for the commissioners.”

Though she was happy to hear the county is planning to add shoulders for cyclists to ride on, Sloan said she wishes they would do it soon.

“Summer is coming, and more cyclists will be on the road,” Sloan said. “Too bad they didn’t think of it sooner so it could be underway now in time to be done for summer.”

Too late for this summer, perhaps. But discussions have been held and proposals are being drafted for correcting the problems along that portion of U.S. Highway 6, said Peter Kozinski, the regional engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“We are just waiting for a proposal to the county and then we can get moving from there,” Kozinski said. “We definitely understand there are safety concerns in that area for the people who recreate there and for the drivers.”

Because the project is still in its initial planning phases, Kozinski was unable to say when construction could begin or how wide the shoulders will be.

County engineers will include their vision of the project in an overall presentation to the transportation department when they meet in early May, Finestone said.

“It’s too early to know what all will go into it if we can get a project approved, but the commissioners have had conversations about contributing money to the project,” Finestone said.

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