Steamboat unveils list of top infrastructure projects, some of which could happen soon

Mike Chessnoe, 78, runs along the Yampa River Core Trail on March 14, 2020. The popular vein in Steamboat Springs was crowded all year as locals sought ways to safely get out of their homes. (Photo by Shelby Reardon)

Steamboat Springs City Council members unveiled a list of infrastructure projects Tuesday they hope to fund for the city’s future.

Most of the projects are smaller and have a timeline of within five to 10 years, but the list did include some larger projects for several years — if not decades, down the road — such as a gondola running from the Meadows Parking Lot to the Gondola Transit Center, a citywide gondola and rapid rail and bus transit.

Council members shared differing viewpoints on which projects should take priority but agreed each is important and should be researched.

“The fact that these projects are on the master plan means that they’re projects we’re looking at,” council member Heather Sloop said. “I truly believe that this is a great action plan and hope some of these can be implemented sooner rather than later.”

The city’s planning department held a series of meetings with City Council members, representatives from Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., other various private groups and the Steamboat Springs Police Department and ranked projects according to importance and feasibility.

Intersection projects at the top of the priority list include an upgrade at the U.S. Highway 40 and Shield Drive intersection, a pedestrian crossing at Angels View Way and Pine Grove Road, an underpass on Rollingstone Drive and a pedestrian crossing on Lincoln Avenue east of Third Street. The projects on the city’s top list range in cost from about $200,000 to $6.5 million, with a new signal at U.S. 40 and Downhill Drive as the most expensive on the top list, at an estimation of $6.5 million to $7.5 million.

Street projects on the list include an 11th Street extension, Howelsen Parkway extension and an extension on the west side of U.S. Highway 40. Those projects also have higher price tags, ranging from $800,000 to $8 million.

Council also said it would like to meet with the Routt County Board of Commissioners in the future to discuss expanding the Yampa River Core Trail west of Steamboat, potentially all the way to Hayden.

“I think the county commissioners also have some unexpected money, so that’s something that I think should be put higher up on the list,” council member Kathi Meyer said.

In addition to the flashier projects, such as gondolas and a rail system, the list also includes more accessible sidewalks for people using wheelchairs, safe routes to schools and more crosswalks on Lincoln Avenue.

“Having more ways to cross could be very helpful for people who just want to get from one side of Lincoln to the other,” council member Robin Crossan said.

Ben Beall, city engineer, also said the city continues to see higher numbers of pedestrians and agreed pedestrian safety should be high on the list.

The plan has been open for public comment for months, and city staff said they received heavy and helpful input from community members. Community members have until Friday to comment on the plan, which can be found on the city’s website.

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