Brush Creek upgrade in works |

Brush Creek upgrade in works

A pared-down version of improvements for Brush Creek Road will enter its final stage of planning in the next couple of weeks.

On Monday, the Snowmass Village Town Council decided against immediate plans for a roadside bike trail and a roundabout at the intersection of Owl Creek and Brush Creek roads. But millions of dollars will be spent improving the town’s main artery to accommodate future growth.

The major component of the Brush Creek Corridor Transportation Study involves widening the town’s primary roadway for three miles from Highway 82. Without extra shoulder room for a bike lane on each side of Brush Creek Road, this aspect of the project is estimated at $8.8 million.

Also under consideration is the addition of a lane for slow-moving vehicles for the first mile of Brush Creek Road.

Currently, about 8,400 cars use Brush Creek Road each day during the winter; about 7,100 vehicles travel the road per day in the summer. In 20 years, those figures are expected to jump to 11,000 daily in the winter and 9,000 in the summer.

So, taking a long-term view, the council needs to choose either making drastic improvements to Brush Creek Road or limiting increases in vehicle use, according to consultant Roger Millar.

At yesterday’s meeting, the council decided to begin implementing measures to encourage mass transit use. A combination of incentives to use mass transit and disincentives to driving, such as limiting parking spaces or paid parking, will be studied.

As for trails, a paved, multiuse trail connecting the town’s existing trail system to Highway 82 remains part of the plan. The cost of the new Brush Creek Valley Trail has not been estimated, but council members agreed conceptually that such a connector is an important amenity.

There was discussion of a bike trail along the shoulder of Brush Creek Road. However, at an estimated price of $1.2 to $1.5 million, council members decided against widening the road an extra foot on both sides to accommodate it.

Also taken out of the town’s immediate transportation plans was a single-lane roundabout at Brush Creek and Owl Creek roads, though the town’s fire chief has said something needs to be done there. Congestion at the intersection can make it difficult for fire trucks to get out, said the chief, who suggested a traffic signal there.

In general, council members agreed a roundabout would be preferable to a traffic light, but they aren’t quite convinced that it’s needed yet.

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