Traffic snarls on Mount Werner Road

Crews say they'll be done by Monday or Tuesday

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— People caught in road construction delays on Mount Werner Road and U.S. 40 on Thursday or Friday can expect to see hassle-free driving by Monday or Tuesday.

The delays are due to the city of Steamboat Springs' repaving of the road from U.S. 40 to the Knoll Parking Lot, across from the Steamboat Ski Resort.

Near the U.S. 40 intersection, where multiple flows of traffic converge on Mount Werner Road, traffic-control crews contracted from Rifle were holding up cars on the ramps and at the intersection between Mount Werner Total and Central Park Drive.

"We had the biggest problems (Thursday)," said K.P., a disc jockey with KBCR Radio, which is next to the Total. "We couldn't get in and we couldn't get out."

Troy Phillips, who works at Christy Sports in Central Park Plaza, said it wasn't bad in the late morning and early afternoon on Friday.

"I drove down there twice and I didn't wait at all," he said.

However, he avoided getting onto U.S. 40 from Mount Werner Road, taking Pine Grove Road instead.

"It just looked like a mess down there," he said.

In the morning and evening, lines of traffic built up on the ramps to U.S. 40.

Steamboat Springs Director of Public Works Jim Weber said the delays are a necessary evil.

"This is just part of our paving management program," he said.

Each spring the city allocates $300,000 to repave Steamboat Springs. This year it was Mount Werner Road's turn, among many other projects.

However, Mount Werner Road is taking longer than many of the other projects this spring. Instead of just paving over the old surface, crews removed the old asphalt before putting on the new layer, primarily because of drainage problems, Weber said.

Tony Connell, owner of Connell Resources Inc., received the bid from the city to do the paving. He said the work on Mount Werner Road should have been finished on Friday.

"We might have to go back another day (Monday) to do a little work," Connell said. Connell Resources crews repaved numerous roads this spring as part of the city's paving management program, including portions of Apres Ski Way, Alpen Glow Way, Ski Trail Lane, Spruce Street and upper Medicine Springs Road.

"It's all gone pretty quickly," Connell said.

Portions of Maple Street and upper Walton Creek Road are on the agenda for the next couple weeks. All the paving projects connected to the paving management program should end by the middle of June, just before the summer tourist season kicks in, Connell said.

Paving work in Steamboat Springs is actually getting less and less each spring. Weber said the city has allocated $300,000 annually for each of the past five years to do the work.

But costs to pave have increased each year, so the $300,000 doesn't go as far.

"Last year we saw a 15- to 20-percent increase compared to the year before. I suspect it's a similar increase this year," Weber said.

Inflating petroleum costs are the big kicker, he said.

The oil-based asphalt costs more and more each year; not to mention the fuel that the road machines burn paving, Weber said.

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