More roundabouts, stoplights in Steamboat’s future as traffic grows |

More roundabouts, stoplights in Steamboat’s future as traffic grows

Scott Franz
A roundabout is planned for the intersection of Ski Time Square Drive and Mount Werner Circle. The project is in the design phase this year and scheduled to be built next year.

— Drivers in Steamboat Springs are poised to encounter two or three new roundabouts and two new traffic signals in the coming years as changes are made to accommodate increased traffic around the city.

And over the course of the next year, the city is also creating a new entrance into Emerald Park and partnering with the Colorado Department of Transportation to make some big improvements to the intersection of Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40.

The tentative list of traffic-related projects in the city totals more than $16.8 million in the next four years, with some of the money coming from the state and private developers.

City Engineer Ben Beall said Friday the much-anticipated work on the new Emerald Park access, which will spare homeowners on Pamela Lane from heavy summer traffic, is still on course to begin this year.

He said traffic could be moving through the new railroad crossing as soon as next summer.

The project totals more than $1.9 million.

More immediately, drivers will see construction crews improving the Elk River Road intersection starting this spring.

New bike lanes and sidewalks will be added to the area, and drivers will be able to make simultaneous left turns onto the highway for the first time after the intersection is enlarged and the signals are changed.

Then there are the coming roundabouts.

The first new roundabout is scheduled to go in next year at Ski Time Square Drive and Mount Werner Circle.

City officials this week put out a request seeking proposals from engineers and builders who have ideas for how to best reconfigure the busy intersection near the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

The next roundabout is tentatively scheduled to be built in 2020 at the off-ramp of U.S. Highway 40 and Mount Werner Road.

And some base-area stakeholders are looking into the possibility of creating as many as two additional roundabouts where Steamboat Boulevard and Mount Werner Circle meet Mount Werner Road.

The prospects of the latter two roundabouts will depend in part on the results of a $10,000 feasibility study that will be conducted this year.

Ralph Walton, who helps oversee base-area improvement projects, said the new roundabout at the Ski Time Square Drive intersection will increase pedestrian safety and make it easier for shuttle drivers to navigate the area to the Gondola Transit Center.

The intersection sees heavy traffic, especially after shuttle buses are constantly departing the GTC at the start and end of the ski day.

“We have a lot of guests staying at the Steamboat Grand crossing the street there,” Walton said. “The speed (of vehicles) is sometimes a little strong.”

The city’s newest roundabout was installed last summer on Central Park Drive.

Beall said he’s heard great things from the public about the change.

Where could new stoplights be installed?

The city’s capital improvement program currently calls for a new signal at Steamboat Boulevard and Mount Werner Road in 2021.

That will depend on the study looking into the roundabout at the same location.

There are also tentative plans to add a traffic signal to the intersection of U.S. 40 and Downhill Drive on the west end of town, but Beall said the plans will likely depend on how new development plays out in the area.

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

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