Building of decel lanes slows traffic on U.S. 40

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— Traffic on portions of U.S. 40 in Steamboat Springs was restricted to a single lane early this week as construction crews built new deceleration lanes for two development projects the Kum and Go and the Mid-Valley Business Center.

The new decel lanes will allow motorists planning a left turn into either of the retail developments to get out of traffic. City of Steamboat Springs Public Works Director Jim Weber said the highway improvements are part of the original conditions of approval for the developments. Kum and Go, at Anglers Drive and U.S. 40, just opened in 1999, but the Mid-Valley development was built in 1995. Mid-Valley is at the intersection of U.S. 40 and Pine Grove Road.

Weber said the developers were required to submit traffic studies to the Colorado Department of Transportation, which in turn specified what changes needed to be made in the highway.

At the same time the decel lanes are being constructed, the traffic signal overhanging the highway at Pine Grove Road is being replaced. Weber said that, typically, such changes to the highway necessitate moving the signal poles back from the pavement for safety reasons.

Director of Parks, Open Space and Recreation Chris Wilson said Wednesday the construction of the decel lanes eliminated some of the new highway median landscaping that had just begun to flourish last year. However, the six trees that had to be removed have already been replanted elsewhere.

"We replanted them in various parks and along the Core Trail," he said. "We also salvaged some sod and irrigation parts."

Wilson said the city would try to work with the developers to obtain some additional compensation for the landscaping.

To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210 or e-mail tomross@amigo.net

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