CDOT mulls stoplight at I-70 exit | AspenTimes.com
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CDOT mulls stoplight at I-70 exit

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs correspondent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS The Colorado Department of Transportation may install a traffic light at the eastbound off-ramp of Interstate 70 in downtown Glenwood Springs as soon as this year.It’s one of several improvements CDOT is considering for the I-70/Highway 82 interchange to reduce congestion.On top of the list is installing the signal and possibly adding the lane on the eastbound off-ramp, “to help assist with that backup that’s occurring in the morning,” said Pete Mertes, resident engineer for CDOT in Glenwood.The light is intended to improve safety as well as traffic flow. Motorists heading from western Garfield County to jobs up the Roaring Fork Valley sometimes back up onto the interstate, creating the danger of being rear-ended by highway traffic.Backups occasionally also occur at the westbound I-70 exit of Highway 82 coming from Glenwood Canyon. However, the problem isn’t as severe as at the eastbound exit, and Mertes said there is a detection and warning sign system in place to alert motorists in the event of backups.He said some money is available to go ahead with the eastbound exit signal this year. He’s not yet sure what it would cost.Mertes said CDOT still needs to study how much it might cost to add a lane to the entire off-ramp or at least widen it near the light.Eliminating the traffic island at Sixth and Pine streets by the Hotel Colorado would mean upvalley vehicles could travel in two lanes from the I-70 exit all the way to Grand, rather than having to pinch down to one lane.”It would help to alleviate that bottleneck that’s there,” Mertes said.The island originally may have been put in place to provide a safe spot for pedestrians crossing Grand there, but an underpass beneath the Grand Avenue Bridge since has been installed for pedestrians, he said.Adding a second lane to the westbound I-70 on-ramp would allow two lanes of traffic to flow all the way from Grand Avenue onto the interstate, reducing congestion during the evening downvalley commute.”We haven’t really looked at it that closely,” Mertes said of that idea.The roundabout idea also is just conceptual at this point, he said.”It would be more of a long-term solution just because it’s a higher-dollar solution as well.”He said CDOT hasn’t yet looked at it to see if it’s feasible from a design standpoint and in terms of right-of-way requirements. Nor has it evaluated whether a roundabout could handle the traffic volumes at the interchange.”Obviously there’s a lot of traffic going through that area but the roundabouts are pretty efficient in their traffic operations capability,” he said.The roundabout would have to consist of two lanes rather than just one, he said.Mertes said the state has been in contact with Glenwood Springs city engineer Mike McDill about its ideas for the I-70/Highway 82 interchange area. McDill was not available for comment Friday.City manager Jeff Hecksel said the roundabout was among the recommendations traffic consultant Dan Burden made to the city a few years ago.”I think the city is interested in having that discussion” about its feasibility, he said.


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