New stoplight near Sleeping Giant School won’t be ready for first day of school |

New stoplight near Sleeping Giant School won’t be ready for first day of school

A truck turns from Routt County Road 42 into the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 40 on Tuesday afternoon. This intersection will eventually be controlled by a new traffic signal, but it won't be in place by the time school starts at the new Sleeping Giant School in August. (Photo by Dylan Anderson)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The new stoplight planned for the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Routt County Road 42 to help accommodate additional traffic for the new Sleeping Giant School won’t be operational before the school year starts in August.

School officials don’t anticipate the delay will have any drastic impacts on the opening of the school or their ability to get students to school safely for the handful of weeks before it is up and running around the middle of September.

“I think we’ll be able to work with it,” Superintendent Brad Meeks said. “In the grand scheme of things, it is something that we will have to deal with for a few weeks after the start of school.”

Map: The blue arrow on the above map represents the placement of the new stoplight.

Putting in the new traffic signal has required a lengthy approval process from the Colorado Department of Transportation that started back in 2019, according to Colleen Kaneda, who is the owner’s representative on the Sleeping Giant project for the school district.

The signal design has been approved and materials are on order, but the poles for the masts of the new light have a long lead time and likely will not arrive until mid-July, assuming there are not any delays, Kaneda said in an email.

Kaneda said all the other site work for the light — the paving, striping, turn lanes and guardrails — will be installed prior to the start of school Aug. 23. She added that contractors will try to speed up the timeline if possible.

The light is expected to be operational by mid-September after the installation is tested and approved by state transportation officials. Until then, the plan is for school traffic to be controlled in other ways.

“We will have traffic control flaggers in place to direct traffic for the first few weeks of school until the traffic signal has been approved by CDOT,” Kaneda said.

Mike Mordi, assistant public works director for Routt County, said it is hard to predict what impact not having the signal in place before school starts will have on traffic. Interestingly, Routt County Public Works is not actually in charge of any stoplights in the county, as they are all controlled by other entities like the city of Steamboat Springs and CDOT.

“When you are dealing with a public project, we have a lot of entities we are dealing with,” Meeks said. “We drive by it, we take it for granted, and we think something like putting in a signal light is pretty simple, but it is more complicated then one would think.”

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