City moves forward on road work

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The city of Steamboat Springs is soliciting bids for an intersection-improvement project at U.S. Highway 40 and Pine Grove Road.

The city plans to realign the intersection early this summer to improve the safety of vehicles in the eastbound lane of U.S. 40 turning left onto Pine Grove Road.

The bids for the estimated $115,000 project are expected to be into the city by May 12. About a half-dozen construction companies have picked up bid packets, city Public Works Director Jim Weber said.

City officials hope to finish the construction by June 23 to avoid traffic delays during the Fourth of July weekend. The project should take about three weeks to complete, Weber said.

The project, which involves lengthening the left-turn lane, will spur detours around the intersection and could cause traffic to slow down. During construction, both sides of U.S. 40 will be narrowed to one lane through the 500- to 600-foot construction area.

Eastbound drivers will not be able to turn left onto Pine Grove Road at the intersection. Instead, they will have to take Anglers Drive or Mount Werner Road to get to Pine Grove Road, Weber said.

The project is funded through a Colorado Department of Trans--por--tation grant. The money comes from a state program that gives funds to improve dangerous intersections in cities and towns.

Frequent accidents have occurred at the intersection. Right now, drivers in the left-turn lane onto Pine Grove Road exceed capacity. At busy times, more than five or six vehicles will be waiting in the turn lane. As drivers line up beyond the turn lane, the stopped traffic blocks one of the two main eastbound lanes.

The situation is made worse as through-traffic swerves around the stopped cars in the travel lane.

"At certain times of the day, it is pretty scary if you are the last one in line," City Manager Paul Hughes said.

When the project is complete, 12 vehicles will be able to wait for the light in the safety of the turn lane.

To lengthen the left-turn lane onto Pine Grove Road, the city will have to shorten the left-turn lane on the westbound side of U.S. 40 that leads to Anglers Drive. That lane will be shortened by about 20 to 30 feet.

CDOT also has been working this winter to recalculate the timing of the light at the Pine Grove Road intersection. The light was causing confusion for those turning left out of Mid Valley Drive shopping center and drivers going across Pine Grove Road into that shopping center.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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