Some business owners in west Steamboat report lower sales amid major roadwork |

Some business owners in west Steamboat report lower sales amid major roadwork

Drivers wait in a long line of traffic at the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Elk River Road this summer.
Scott Franz/File

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The major construction project that has had drivers slowing down and seeing orange for several weeks in west Steamboat Springs is nearing the finish line.

But there will still be some temporary lane closures to navigate, and several business owners in the area said the work is having a negative impact on their sales totals.

Project spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said the roadwork in and around the Elk River Road intersection is on schedule to be finished by the original target date of Nov. 30.

Drivers will continue to run into delays this week and next, especially further west of the Elk River Road intersection.

Sometime between Sunday and Thursday, there will two to three days of alternating lane closures near the KOA campground so that crews can put down a final layer of asphalt in the area.

“Since things are calmer than they were lest week, I don’t think it’s going to be as big of a deal for folks,” Shanks said.

Shanks stressed the work will be weather dependent, so the closures will occur only if the weather is cooperating.

Meanwhile, several businesses in the cone zone have said their sales have suffered because of the work and the road closures associated with it.

“It’s tough when you close down a highway,” said Rex Brice, who owns Big House Burgers and Lil’ House Country Biscuits and Coffee in Curve Plaza. “You’re going to have inconveniences. Unfortunately, that makes it difficult to get to the business. But I really believe it just comes with the territory.”

Brice is looking forward to the roadwork being done.

“I’m glad they’re doing it, and they’re making some significant improvements that are needed,” he said. “I’d like to think next year and years to come it benefits our businesses out there, and this is sort of the price we all pay for those improvements.”

Ace at the Curve and Elk River Pet & Ranch also reported lower sales this summer and fall during the construction work.

Elk River Pet & Ranch owner Colby Townsend said he’s had customers apologizing to him saying they had to buy elsewhere or shop online because of the added time it would take to make it to the store.

“In general, people from the south side of town, on the mountain, they consider it to be a journey to come all the way up here,” he said. “And when you add the complexity, the route changes, and just the overall delays, it’s really frustrating. Literally and figuratively, they’ve put a roadblock to business traffic headed our way.”

Townsend said he’s appreciative of customers who continue to patronize the business despite the road work.

Sales tax revenue from west Steamboat was down slightly in the month of September, according to a preliminary report from the city.

Restaurant sales were down 4 percent in the area compared to last year, although the report can’t show how much of the performance was impacted by construction.

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

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