Upcoming projects aim to make U.S. Highway 40 corridor safer for pedestrians | SteamboatToday.com

Upcoming projects aim to make U.S. Highway 40 corridor safer for pedestrians

Scott Franz

Traffic moves through the intersection of Pine Grove Road and U.S. Highway 40 on Wednesday afternoon. The traffic lights at the busy intersection were changed to improve pedestrian safety.

— A new pedestrian underpass near the intersection of Pine Grove Road and U.S. Highway 40 is closer to becoming a reality.

The city of Steamboat Springs is accepting proposals from engineers to design an eight-foot-wide concrete trail that will go under the highway alongside Fish Creek where there is an existing culvert.

The underpass, which will connect a series of sidewalks next to Walgreens to the Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center and Safeway, is tentatively scheduled to be built in fall 2017.

The project will primarily be paid for by a Federal Highway Administration Grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

City officials hope once the underpass is installed, pedestrians will go under the highway instead of crossing at Pine Grove Road and U.S. 40, where one pedestrian was killed by a vehicle in recent years.

Robert "Bob" Bear was crossing U.S. 40 at Pine Grove Road in 2009 when a pickup truck attempting to make a right turn on a red light hit him.

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Bear, 77, died of his injuries.

CDOT has since changed the alignment of the intersection and modified the traffic signal to make it safer for pedestrians.

The underpass is part of a greater effort to make cycling and walking along U.S. Highway 40 safer.

Next summer, the intersection of Elk River Road and U.S. 40 will be reconstructed, and new sidewalks will be added in the area.

Currently, the city lacks about five miles of sidewalks along the highway, mostly in the western part of town.

The city plans to pursue state grant funding to help fill the gaps.

Community members also will soon be able to weigh-in on proposed sidewalks throughout the city at an open house sometime this spring or summer.

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