Thursday, August 31, 2000
Steamboat Springs A traffic light on U.S. 40 in front of Steamboat II was, at the very least, supposed to be flashing during school hours beginning Monday. As of Thursday, though, it was dark.
"To my knowledge, everything was go," said a surprised Jim Nall, the Region 3 traffic engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation. "There may be some kind of malfunction I'm not aware of, but as far as I know, it should be going."
Last month, Nall said that CDOT is committed to installing flashing beacons and reducing the speed limit near the intersection. At the time, he said that the beacons would be on during school hours. In the meantime, CDOT employees were to continue monitoring traffic during peak hours in order to determine whether or not a full-fledged stoplight will be needed.
"As funding becomes more clear," Nall said, "we'll have more certainty about a stoplight."
Nall said that signals vary in price, from $150,000 to $225,000 apiece, and that CDOT is working on putting a funding package together. Given the expense of a stoplight, additional monitoring and surveys must indicate that it is warranted.
"We're looking at the volume on the main line, the cross streets, and are looking at the worst periods of volume and congestion to see if the intersection needs some minimum signaling," he added.
Transportation Commissioner Bill Haight, who has been working with CDOT to cooperate with the Steamboat II and Heritage Park subdivisions and their restrictions, as well as the economic roles of all the parties involved, said that when he first talked about the light seven or eight months ago, he had also added that nothing would happen instantly.
"In the meantime, we'll have blinking lights," he said.
But those lights aren't blinking, and some Steamboat II residents, like Eve Bevill, are frustrated because they were promised a flashing beacon at a minimum.
"It's ridiculous pulling out of here," Bevill said. "And it's scary. You sit there and say to yourself 'I hope I make it I hope I make it.' It's a dangerous intersection."
Haight said there's so much demand for signals throughout the state that only the most critical lights will take priority and get addressed.
"It's not a simple process," he said. "Everyone asks why we don't just get this done but they don't realize how much funding and time it takes."
On Thursday, Nall said he would look into why the beacons, which have already been installed, are not yet flashing.
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