New underpass offers safer way to cross US 40 at Pine Grove Road
Trail opened last Thursday
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Be it on a bike, a scooter, rollerblades or your own two feet, a recently completed underpass aims to give trail users a safer route to cross U.S. Highway 40 at Pine Grove Road in Steamboat Springs.
The Fish Creek Underpass links sidewalks near the Yampa Valley Housing Authority development on Pine Grove Road under U.S. 40, connecting to the southwest corner of the parking lot at Safeway.
“That intersection has some of the higher (traffic) volumes that we see in town. It’s got lots of lanes people have to cross and high speeds,” said city of Steamboat Springs staff engineer Danny Paul said. “What the underpass does is, it allows people who wish to take it to get from one side of the highway to the other in a safer way than having to cross the busy street.”
In 2009, longtime Steamboat resident Bob Bear died after he was struck by a pickup truck while crossing the intersection.
The trail and underpass are complete and open to pedestrian and bike traffic, though there may be some limited closures as the city wraps up finishing touches on the project in the coming week. The highway underpass is one of the longest tunnels in Steamboat, Paul said. It will be lighted 24 hours a day.
In the spring, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps is expected to plant native trees along the banks of Fish Creek, where vegetation was disturbed or removed during construction. The city also is exploring the installation of a mural on a concrete wall built as part of the construction.
Funding for the $1.1 million project came from city accommodations tax revenue and grant funding from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Department of Transportation.
“There was a decade or more of planning and design to make it happen,” Paul said. That included obtaining easements across private property, building adjacent to Fish Creek and working through the review process.
“There were lots of hurdles that we overcame to make it happen, and I truly think that it’ll be a great community asset,” Paul said.
Eventually, the city hopes to create a link from the site of the Residence Inn by Marriott, currently under construction at the corner of Pine Grove Road and Rollingstone Drive, to the Yampa River Core Trail. The next section aimed for completion would run along Fish Creek on the westside of Safeway, though Paul said pedestrians can use the existing bridge west of Safeway to walk north on the sidewalk to Rollingstone Drive.
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