Study: expect more trucks on the roads |

Study: expect more trucks on the roads

Dennis Webb
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
A truck travels Interstate 70 beneath the Grand Avenue bridge in Glenwood Springs. A study predicts truck traffic on highways 82, 133 and 13 will be comparable to what exists now on I-70. (Kara K. Pearson/Post Independent)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” By the year 2035, Interstate 70 between Glenwood Springs and Silt is likely to join Highway 82 as a congested road with rush­hour delays.

There also will be a significant increase in truck traffic on area highways, with truck volumes on highways 82, 13 and 133 reaching levels comparable to those on Interstate 70 now.

Those projections are part of a draft 2035 transportation plan for Colorado’s intermountain region, which includes Garfield, Pitkin, Summit, Eagle and Lake counties.

That plan is part of a draft statewide plan that forecasts a $151 billion funding gap between anticipated transportation needs and revenue projections from 2008 to 2035.

Absent new funding, the plan says, the average driver on the state’s congested routes would experience daily delays of nearly 70 minutes, up from 22 minutes today. Only a quarter of the state’s road­way surfaces would have a good or fair rat­ing, compared to 60 percent now. Sixty percent of bridges would be in good or fair shape, down from 94 percent.

“Transportation revenues are not keep­ing pace with the projected growth, aging infrastructure and rising construction costs,” CDOT Executive Director Russell George of Rifle and state Transportation Commission chairman Douglas Aden wrote in a cover letter accompanying the state draft.

The draft came out in September and was the topic of an open house Thursday in Glenwood Springs.

The plan predicts that the state’s popu­lation will grow from about 5 million today to 7.8 million in 2035. The Western Slope’s population is projected to jump the most during that time ” 84 percent ” causing areas in the region “to experience congestion traditionally found in more urban areas,” the report says. Garfield County is anticipated to increase in number to 146,271, from 50,676 in 2005.

Much of the county’s growth is expect­ed to occur west of Glenwood Springs. The state anticipates traffic on I-70 from Glenwood to Silt will exceed a volume-to­capacity ratio of 0.85 by 2035. Roads above that level are considered above capacity, as parts of Highway 82 are now.

As measured by weight, freight traffic in Colorado is expected to grow by 2.5 times between 2002 and 2035, compared to a doubling in such traffic nationwide. Trucks haul 70 percent of the state’s freight.

Average annual daily traffic on I-70 throughout the intermountain region already was between 1,041 and 3,050 trucks per day in 2005, a range that High­way 13 north of Rifle, Highway 82 between Glenwood and Aspen, and High­way 133 south of Carbondale, are likely to reach by 2035.

Highway 13, which is experiencing heavy energy development traffic, aver­aged 620 to 1,041 trucks per day in 2005, and highways 82 and 133 averaged 331­620 trucks.

The state plan lays out a transportation vision for highways, air travel and mass transit that would cost $227 billion between 2008-35. But anticipated trans­portation revenue for that period is just $76 billion. Simply to keep conditions as they are would cost $63 billion, the plan says.

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