Steamboat celebrates end of road construction
Steamboat Springs — In Jan Lomas’ 29 years of business on Lincoln Avenue, there was never a single event that affected her sales as much as the U.S. Highway 40 construction project in downtown Steamboat Springs.
It’s not difficult to understand why Lomas, who owns Artisans Market of Steamboat with her husband, Michael, said business during April, May and June was “almost nonexistent.”
With stronger sales in July, August — months in which construction work didn’t occur — and September, Lomas said she thinks they’re out of the woods.
“It was rough on business in the spring, but now we’re starting to recover,” Lomas said.
She can look forward to the same with the completion of the construction project that started more than a year ago.
To commemorate the occasion, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs hosted “So Long Cone Zone” on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s done now, and we’re ready to celebrate,” said Tracy Barnett, manager of Mainstreet, which promotes Steamboat’s downtown businesses. “We thought it would be fun to officially open the street and thank CDOT and Scott Contracting.”
All four lanes of traffic opened Oct. 3 with clean-up work continuing in the weeks since.
There was music, tricycle races and a ceremony. Local officials praised the collaboration between the city and the Colorado Department of Transportation, and they lauded Scott Contracting for completing the $5.6 million project before the Nov. 18 deadline.
“What a great project we have here,” said state Sen. Al White, a Hayden Republican. “It’s an example of what can happen when we all come together. It has turned out marvelously.”
The project replaced asphalt with concrete from Third to 13th streets. Pedestrian bump-outs were added to reduce the crossing distance from one side of the street to another, in addition to other street and curb improvements.
Below the road’s surface, there were underground utility and storm sewer improvements. And fiber optic lines also were installed to coordinate the street’s traffic signals downtown, including a new signal at 11th Street that was added during the project.
Philo Shelton, the city’s public works director, said he was very satisfied with the project and that the improvements would be evident for years.
“It was a great project to work with Scott (Contracting) and CDOT,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work on everybody’s part. I think it shows.”
Jill Ackerman, owner of Kali’s Boutique, said despite customers losing some access to her store, she was fortunate not to lose too much business. But Ackerman added that she’s just glad to see the project done.
Like Ackerman, and probably most of Steamboat’s downtown business owners, Jan Lomas said she too is happy to see the project’s completion. It may have taken time and made business difficult, but the results are getting favorable reviews.
“We’re very pleased with downtown,” Lomas said. “I don’t know how you couldn’t be.”
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Steamboat Free Summer Concerts announced Friday that it will return live music to the Yampa Valley this summer in the form of two concerts scheduled for August and September.