Road work starting next week will impact trips to Central Park Plaza, DIA | SteamboatToday.com

Road work starting next week will impact trips to Central Park Plaza, DIA

Scott Franz

A deer uses a new wildlife overpass to safely get across Highway 9 south of Kremmling. State Transportation Chairwoman Kathy Connell said the project has greatly reduced the number of animal deaths and vehicle-versus-wildlife accidents on the stretch of highway.

— Beginning Monday, drivers in Steamboat Springs and Northwest Colorado will find it difficult to avoid some cone zones and traffic delays as construction crews start making two busy roadways here safer and more convenient.

Monday marks the start of both the reconstruction of Central Park Drive in Steamboat and the second phase of a safety improvement project on Colorado Highway 9 between Silverthorne and Kremmling.

Both projects will create significant impacts for drivers as they get rolling in the coming weeks.

Michelle Perez, a spokeswoman for the Highway 9 project, said drivers will only see shoulder closures during the first week of work on the highway, which area drivers often take to and from the Front Range.

But as the work progresses, drivers will have to plan ahead for significant delays or plan to use detours that include Colorado Highway 131 and Berthoud Pass.

During the first phase of the project, drivers encountered delays as long as 45 minutes, as well as rough roads and much lower speed limits.

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State Transportation Commission Chairwoman Kathy Connell said the detours around the construction zone shouldn’t be as time consuming as they were last summer, when drivers who took Berthoud also ran into road work and construction delays.

Connell said drivers and wildlife are already starting to see benefits from the completion of the first phase of the project.

Since the wildlife fencing was added, Connell said, state officials have told her the number of animals that have been hit and killed by vehicles on the stretch of highway has decreased dramatically.

“The year before this was done, they said they had 36 animal kills,” Connell said. “During the same period of time (after construction was completed), they said they had two. That is really exciting. It shows that it is working.”

In addition to the wildlife underpasses and overpasses, the $39.2 million project is widening the road and improving signage and striping on the 11 mile stretch of highway just south of Kremmling.

The second phase of the project stretches from mile markers 126 to 131 between Kremmling and the Green Mountain Reservoir.

The entire project is expected to be completed by July, 2017.

Central Park work starting too

Monday also marks the start of the reconstruction of Central Park Drive.

Drivers turning onto Central Park from Pine Grove Road will see a right-hand lane closure that will continue to the first entrance of the shopping center. Crews will be working here to remove curb and gutter.

The more impactful work begins April 24, when Central Park will be under a full closure from its intersection with Pine Grove Road to the entrance near Anytime Fitness.

Drivers will then need to access the shopping center via Snapdragon Way, or, if they want a less bumpy ride, Mount Werner Road. When the road reopens, it will include the new roundabout, sidewalks, bike lanes and other improvements.

For a full breakdown of the road closures and impacts, click here.

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