Routt County works on new permit for large events to improve traffic control and communication |

Routt County works on new permit for large events to improve traffic control and communication

SBT GRVL black course racers turn off of Routt County Road 44A onto County Routt 52E in 2021. Routt County is seeking to update the permit policy for large special events to help improve traffic control and communication for the events.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Routt County is working toward finalizing a draft for a new permit for large special events that would require happenings with 1,000 or more participants to adhere to updated traffic control and communication plan requirements.

Routt County’s Public Works Director Mike Mordi cited citizen comments pertaining to the size of some of the special events in the county during the summer of 2022 as the primary reason for the revision of the permit policy. 

“A large part of this new permit policy revolves around communication to the community,” Mordi said. “It’s especially important for traffic control to ensure people know where the events are and what roads they could impact.” 

Travel in and out of Steamboat is the driving force behind the revision.

Mordi said a goal with this new permit policy is to ensure that people all over the county are alerted about these events and not just people in Steamboat proper. He said he hopes to get signs regarding information about upcoming events on most of the county roads and not just rely on banners on Lincoln Avenue. 

The communication form for this new permitting process on the Routt County commissioners’ March 7 agenda states, “Public Works recognizes that groups want to utilize roads to put on events to raise money for charities and showcase the great landscapes of Routt County. Some residents agree with allowing these events to take place and others oppose having events on the County Roads altogether.”

Discussion about revising the permit policy began in October 2022. Mordi went to large special events in surrounding counties and mountain communities to conduct research on how other places are putting on large-scale events. 

After analyzing what worked and what didn’t for similar communities, Routt County Public Works revised the permit to cater to the needs of Routt County and address the concerns of citizens.

Under the new permit, special events would need to provide a map or diagram of the route being used, showing all control points, aid stations and any traffic detours. A map of parking locations and number of spaces proposed for participants would also be required. 

The new revision requires a Method of Handling Traffic that must have built-in time frames for closures, a primary contact for road closures, and a description of all road/lane/major intersection closures.

Additionally, the event would need a certificate of insurance naming Routt County.

A communication plan for the event would also need to go into the event application before it is even approved. This will outline the community communication and outreach plan and detail where all advertisements will be placed. 

An advertisement explaining the details of the event in at least one local newspaper of general circulation would have to be posted at least 21 days ahead of the event. 

Large special events would also have a variable message board that public works will dispatch and retrieve at the direction of the applicant for the requested duration. Public works will have the authority to retrieve the board at any time if it is needed for emergency county use.

Additionally, events will have a $200 fee that will cover up to two hours of Road and Bridge Staff review time.

Mordi anticipates the finalization of this draft will occur later in March and take effect before summer.

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