Steamboat, Routt County pedal full steam ahead for USA Pro Cycling Challenge arrival |

Steamboat, Routt County pedal full steam ahead for USA Pro Cycling Challenge arrival

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected from its original version. The Stage 4 course takes riders from Colo. Highway 131 to Routt County Road 14F and then onto C.R. 14.

If you were hoping to pick up a marriage license at the Routt County Courthouse on Friday, you're out of luck. But there's time to invest in a bicycle built for two.

County offices at the historic courthouse between Fifth and Sixth streets will be closed all day Friday to make room for the international press corps that will be covering the USA Pro Cycling Challenge as it roars into downtown Steamboat sometime between 3:30 and 4 p.m. The Clerk and Recorder's Office will be among those that are closed, meaning county services from building permit applications to marriage licenses will be unavailable.

County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said credentialed media members will be working from the commissioners' hearing room, the hallway outside the hearing room and in the elevated walkway between the old courthouse and the annex. The general public will not have any access to the building that day.

Closing the courthouse opens it up for media covering the race and also helps ease congestion in downtown Steamboat on Friday afternoon and into the evening, officials said Monday.

Steamboat Springs Transit's free-to-rider bus system will do its best to mitigate congestion by more than doubling the number of drivers it usually has on duty in summer to 28, and throwing 21 buses into action to provide continuous service in the downtown.

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"There's a lot to get done, but how many towns in America get to have this problem?" Transit Operations Manager Jonathan Flint said. "We'll take the challenge."

Steamboat Springs City Hall is always closed on Fridays, but there are some city departments where it will be all hands on deck Friday and to a lesser degree on Saturday, when the professional bike racers depart the Meadows parking lot at the ski area for Breckenridge at approximately 11:20 a.m.

"Definitely, every able employee we have in town will be working from noon Friday to the conclusion of the fireworks," Police Captain Joel Rae said Monday. "Ninety percent of it will be traffic control. We've got to get this right and put on a good show. We want Steamboat to be the best host city in Colorado so the race comes back next year."

The Steamboat Springs School District will end classes at lunch on Friday — just the third day of school for the 2011-12 year — and buses will begin taking students home at 1 p.m.

Affected county employees will have the day off with the choice of taking a vacation day or working out flex work time with their department heads, County Manager Tom Sullivan said.

Although county departments housed in the courthouse are off Friday, other county departments, which have people on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will continue to operate Friday. Those departments include the Sheriff's Office, Routt County Jail, Road and Bridge, and Communcations.

Traffic and detours

For Steamboat motorists and through traffic on U.S. Highway 40 intent on passing through downtown Steamboat in the hours before and immediately after the finish of Friday's Stage 4, the detour will closely resemble the re-routing of traffic onto Oak Street via Third and 11th streets that is used during Fourth of July and Winter Carnival parades.

A notable exception this time is that the eastbound lanes of U.S. 40 will be closed to traffic beginning at 11:45 a.m. Friday from South Pine Grove Road (at the Mountain Fire Station and Ski Town Fields) to Third Street to accommodate the 136 riders in the Pro Cycling Challenge as well as a separate time trial race for elite hand-cyclists from 12:15 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. The hand-cyclists will be an out-and-back race from the Pro Cycling Challenge finish line on U.S. 40 at Sixth Street to the Mount Werner Road off ramp.

During the time that the eastbound lanes are closed, orange cones placed by the Colorado Department of Transportation will divide traffic headed in both directions on the two lanes usually reserved for westbound traffic.

The Pro Cycling Challenge cyclists will arrive in Steamboat via Colorado Highway 131 to Routt County Road 14F and then take C.R. 14 (River Road) to the Mount Werner Road intersection at Tree Haus. Riders will then ride up the U.S. 40 off ramp in the wrong direction for the sprint into downtown.

As soon as the lead riders emerge onto the highway from the off ramp, Rae said, all traffic on the highway will be stopped for safety reasons — including traffic in the coned westbound lanes.

"Everything will come to a sudden, gridlock halt at the time they come up the off ramp," Rae said. "We expect the riders to be going more than 50 miles an hour within inches of each other when they pass Old Fish Creek Falls Road and we don't want any traffic anywhere near them."

To prepare for the finish, Lincoln Avenue will be closed from Fifth Street to 11th Street beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday. Traffic will be re-routed from Lincoln Avenue to Oak Street at Third and 11th streets during that time. Side streets will remain open until 10 p.m. Thursday. At 10 p.m., all remaining cross streets will be closed.

At 10 a.m. Friday, Lincoln Avenue will be closed from Fifth Street to Third Street. That stretch of Lincoln Avenue will be the first to reopen following the event, with all other cross streets reopening as quickly as possible. Lincoln Avenue is expected to reopen at about 11 p.m. Friday.

As soon as the last racer finishes the race, CDOT will pick up the cones and traffic will revert to a normal pattern on U.S. 40 from Third Street east, Rae said.

Like Oak Street, Yampa Street will remain open to traffic throughout the event.

Transit goes all out

Steamboat Springs Transit's free city buses will operate under their normal summer schedule throughout the event, with the exception of expanded routes between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday.

The five expanded routes include:

A West Steamboat Line serving the area from the Steamboat Campground east to the Stock Bridge Transit Center and ending at a special stop established where the Yampa River Core Trail meets 13th Street.

A Lincoln Avenue Black Line that serves the area from the Stock Bridge Transit Center east to stops along Oak Street and then along U.S. 40 to the Safeway and Central Park Plaza before ending at the Gondola Transit Center.

The Yellow Line will run its typical route with the exception of not serving the Howelsen Hill area. The Yellow Line will go out of service at its regularly scheduled time of 5:50 p.m.

The Steamboat Boulevard Line will follow Steamboat Boulevard from the Gondola Transit Center to a special stop between Third and Fourth streets downtown. The line will avoid U.S. 40.

The Condo Line will serve the mountain area and transfer passengers at the Gondola Transit Center.

Steamboat Springs Transit plans to offer normal service on Saturday. However, it will provide extra buses on its normal routes from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To reach Tom Ross, call (970) 871-4205 or email


■ Friday

12:15 p.m. Stage 4 begins in Avon

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Moots Cycles factory tour

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Kent Eriksen Cycles factory tour

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lifestyle Expo and Sierra Nevada Beer Garden on Lincoln Avenue. Expo will feature food, official race merchandise, a Kids Zone and more.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Live music at the Lifestyle Expo

12:15 p.m. U.S. Paracycling Challenge start at Sixth Street and Lincoln Avenue

1 to 3 p.m. Live music at the Lifestyle Expo with Steamboat’s Loose Change

2 p.m. Live race feed begins on the big screens on Lincoln Avenue

2 p.m. U.S. Paracycling Challenge finish and awards ceremony

3:30 p.m. Approximate finish of Stage 4 of the Pro Cycling Challenge

3:45 p.m. Approximate start of Stage 4 award ceremonies downtown

5:30 p.m. Start of Free Summer Concert Series performance at Howelsen Hill with 3 Twins Broadband and members of the Subdudes

9 p.m. Fireworks show at Howelsen Hill

■ Saturday

9:30 a.m. Pro Cycling Challenge teams arrive at Meadows Parking Lot

9:30 a.m. Lifestyle Expo opens

9:30 a.m. Pro Cycling Challenge Hospitality Tent opens

10 a.m. Pro Cycling Challenge announcers introduce and interview representatives

10:15 a.m. Athletes alley

10:30 a.m. Stage 5 start ceremony

11:20 a.m. Stage 5 starts from Meadows Parking Lot

11:35 a.m. STARS Charity Ride start

2 to 5 p.m. STARS Charity Ride party in Little Toots Park

9 p.m. SmartWool Bike-in Movie “Best in Show” at Howelsen Hill

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