Detours ahead: Mount Werner Road roundabout construction to begin Monday
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs residents and visitors should expect traffic delays and be prepared to use alternative routes this summer, as the city plans to begin construction on a new roundabout at the intersection of Mount Werner Road and Steamboat Boulevard.
The intersection will be closed from Monday to July 1. There will also be no through access along Mount Werner Road between Pine Grove Road and Mount Werner Circle. Because of this, city engineers said those wanting to use those streets will have to use Walton Creek Road to get around the closed areas.
When finished, the project will feature two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane that could be expanded to two lanes if traffic increases warrant it. It will be the first two-lane roundabout of its kind in Steamboat. The project also will include replacement of an existing drainage pipe to accommodate the 100-year flood, construction of new sidewalks, landscaping beautification and street and pedestrian lighting.
Danny Paul, Steamboat staff engineer overseeing the project, said the city has been planning this project for about 10 years, and the demand becomes more apparent each year as more people move to and visit Steamboat and traffic increases on those streets.
“Currently, the intersection is exhibiting strain,” Paul said. “It’s no longer seeing the level of service that it needs to function properly for traffic to flow through it efficiently.”
Paul attributed the increase in traffic in the area to more development on Steamboat Boulevard and in the Wildhorse Meadows area.
“It’s also a safety improvement,” Paul added. “We’re seeing more accidents, and people taking greater chances to get onto those streets.”
What: The city of Steamboat Springs will be constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Mount Werner Road and Steamboat Boulevard. It will feature two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane.
When: Closures will be in effect for the area Monday through July 1.
Alternative routes: Drivers are asked to use Walton Creek Road as a detour.
While there is no ideal time to complete the project on two busy streets, Paul said the city chose the months between mid-April and July 1 because they fall after the snow melts and Steamboat Resort closes and before Steamboat’s busiest season in the summer begins.
“In Colorado and in Steamboat Springs, we have short construction seasons as it is, and we don’t have the luxury of doing these year-round and doing them times of year that might be better for some people,” Paul said. “This was a very calculated and careful decision.”
Paul also said the city’s alternative option would be to hold shorter closures over the course of two years, which is what they do with some smaller construction projects. The issue with following that strategy in this case, Paul added, is construction workers would only be able to make progress on underground efforts the first year, and residents would deal with the inconveniences of road closures without reaping the benefits of the project.
“The public would have to endure construction in year one and wouldn’t get much from it, but then it would be a following year before they saw any benefit,” Paul said.
While construction causes inconveniences, city engineers agree short-term annoyances save much larger problems in the long-run and said they did everything they could to mitigate traffic impacts.
“Nobody likes road construction, but we really have no control over that,” said Jon Snyder, Steamboat public works director. “In a general sense, construction is necessary because you have to maintain what you already have.”
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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