Council weighs in on timing of Yampa Street construction project |

Council weighs in on timing of Yampa Street construction project

Scott Franz
A Steamboat Resort shuttle makes its way down Yampa Street Monday afternoon. The city of Steamboat Springs is finalizing plans for a major downtown improvement project that will start on Yampa this summer.
John F. Russell

— The Steamboat Springs City Council won’t put a restriction on the upcoming Yampa Street construction project to keep road work off of the busiest portion the street during the busiest summer months.

To mitigate the impact the noise, dust and road closures will have on businesses in the area, city staff had recommended construction not be allowed on Yampa between Sixth and Eighth streets from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Contractors who plan to bid on the project, which will install a new promenade, bike lanes and other improvements on the street, have told the city they would prefer not to have those restrictions in place.

Council members agreed and were concerned that ordering such a restriction before the project goes to bid could increase the cost of the work by an unknown amount.

Some council members also feared limiting the work to certain areas could end up impacting the community more in the long run by dragging out the project if working conditions aren’t favorable in the spring and fall months.

“My concern is if we piece this project together, we commit to death by 1,000 paper cuts,” Councilman Scott Ford said.

Ford also noted that, by allowing the project to continue unimpeded down the length of the street throughout the summer, the public may be able to see the end product sooner.

City engineer Ben Beall said the city was walking a fine line between mitigating the impact of the work on local businesses and allowing contractors to do the work in the most timely and efficient manner possible.

Council’s decision Tuesday doesn’t guarantee construction will occur on the busiest portion of the street during the time period businesses report they make most of their money.

However, it keeps that option open when the project goes out to bid to contractors.

Contractors will be able to bid on two options.

The first option would allow up to two blocks of the street to be closed at a time, with no restrictions on the timing of the work.

The second option includes the restriction that would prevent work on the busiest part of the street between May 30 to Sept. 5.

The council’s decision not to approve the construction timing restriction came after a representative from one of the local contractors who will bid on the project said there were risks involved with only allowing work to be done on some portions of the street in the spring and fall, when weather can be unpredictable.

Charlie MacArthur, of Native Excavating, said allowing the work to progress down the street naturally would also allow the public to better predict where work was being done.

The council also weighed in on two other components of the project.

They narrowly approved a request to change the parking spaces near Ski Town Lions Park and at 12th Street from parallel to back-in diagonal spaces. The move will eliminate eight parking spaces on the street.

The council also endorsed the installation of new light poles to accommodate the expansion of overhead, festival-style lighting on Yampa from the start of Sixth Street to the end of 10th Street.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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