Downtown Steamboat construction a bumpy topic



Gravel fills in a utility trench dug across Yampa Street near the Howelsen Place construction site in downtown Steamboat Springs. Debris caused by construction is spurring debate about impacts to downtown, in the midst of summer tourism season.

— Asphalt shortages and city regulations - not contractor negligence - are causing loose gravel near downtown construction sites, a construction official said Monday.

Jim Kohler, vice president of Calcon Constructors, was responding to comments made last week by Steamboat Springs City Councilman Ken Brenner, who said the Howelsen Place project on Seventh Street is an example of how construction is negatively impacting downtown businesses and streetscapes in the midst of summer tourism.

"We are not adequately screening these construction sites," Brenner said a week ago. Later in the week, Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said construction is turning downtown Steamboat into "a war zone."

Kohler said Monday that his staff of 30 to 40 workers is making the best of conditions and city regulations already in place.

"Asphalt up here is a month-and-a-half to two months away," Kohler said. "We made every attempt to use concrete or flowfill while we wait for the asphalt."

Flowfill is a lean form of concrete that can be used to temporarily fill trenches - such as those dug into Seventh and Yampa streets for utility work - and then removed for permanent asphalt. Kohler said city officials were concerned that flowfill inadvertently left in a trench could lead to long-term asphalt weakness or damage, a situation Kohler called "a viable concern."

So gravel was used instead.

"We sweep those streets every night, but it doesn't take many cars going across the gravel trenches to spread it again," Kohler said.

As for asphalt, Kohler said large-scale road projects on Rabbit Ears Pass are getting priority from the two local suppliers.

"All the little stuff plays second fiddle to the big stuff," Kohler said. "We've had asphalt on order since June."

Jim Weber, the city's director of public works, said miscommunications and misunderstandings among contractors, subcontractors and city officials led to the ongoing gravel debris lingering at Yampa and Seventh streets.

"Everybody is under a gun to get something done," Weber said of construction projects across Steamboat. "And the limited supply of materials and personnel is an issue that we all have to deal with. :The bottom line is, on a lot of those projects the general contractors need to pay attention to the permits they have been issued and pay attention to what their subcontractors are doing."

Brenner also questioned the uncovered chain-link fences at Howelsen Place.

Kohler said the fences are not yet covered with green mesh because doing so requires bolting the fences to the street in a semi-permanent fashion, which his staff has avoided to allow for flexibility in fence locations.

"The wind will blow the fence right over once you have mesh on it," Kohler said. "For the first two months of our project, every night and weekend we pulled the fence back in to allow for parking - now that we're into construction we can't do that anymore."

Kohler said that, like asphalt, two primary local suppliers of rock and sand utilize quarries west of downtown Steamboat Springs.

"All of those trucks have to come through town," he said. "That's a huge traffic issue."

There's no end to the traffic in the near future.

"On my project alone, we will have over 2,000 truckloads of rock and sand," Kohler said. "We're only a third of the way through that, probably."


Jean 9 years, 9 months ago

WOW, sounds like a good cloister puck to me, can't wait for my visit in August, yikes


bcpow 9 years, 9 months ago

Can't have a gravel pit on the east side...way to have some vision. Telluraped again.


id04sp 9 years, 9 months ago

Shovels. Rakes. Brooms.

We HAVE the technology to deal with the gravel problem.

The trucks should be hosed or brushed off after loading to remove loose gravel that's outside the dump body.

Construction crews should be required to remove loose gravel from the roadway.

What's so hard about this, except that time is money? If the city doesn't force people to clean up the mess as they make it, it gets left to the rest of us.


ghrohrs3 9 years, 9 months ago

Steamboat is really benefitting from all of the new development isn't it? Boy, I sure hope the invasion of rich morons continues so Steamboat can be blasted into oblivion and chaos and then see the rich folks sell their monstorsities they call second homes and leave an aftermath of ruin in their wake. What a great world we live in. Local governments with no balls being manhandled by money-grubbing dirtbags at the expense of those who just want to coexist with, enjoy and PRESERVE the natural beauty of the place. Development has been out of control in almost every beautiful place since the late 80's when the world got so greedy it sold it's own soul for a wad of dirty dollars and the end of the healthy planet as we once knew it. Thanks for wrecking all things good and decent.


53native 9 years, 9 months ago

ditto bcpow- if Council hadn't caved in to trophy home owners S & E of town, at least the delivery bottleneck wouldn't be a problem. NIMBYs always just make it someone elses problem.


elphaba 9 years, 9 months ago

Ironic that Ken Brenner - who sat on the Council that approved all this development with nary a thought to the impact - would be the critic. Just what did he think???? or is that the issue----he doesn't.


stompk 9 years, 9 months ago

The love of money is the root of all evil. Those roots are firmly planted in Da Boat.

Who in their right mind approves three major construction projects on one small street in the same summer?

And they wonder why there's problems. Someone is lining their pockets. Sure isn't the taxpayers.

What's the deal with all these giant out of town developers? Don't they have something to do in their home town. They come up here, rape the land and go home. I hope they run out of materials all together.


dave reynolds 9 years, 9 months ago

Council should stop whining YOU made the wine now drink a cup..elphaba I agree they don't think all they saw was the fore thought was given to any of this..three MAJOR construction jobs within a five block radis of each other..naw this isn't going to be a problem..I do believe the Const. companys are doing what they can..this fails squarely on clowncils shoulders


ghrohrs3 9 years, 9 months ago

2,000 round-trip truckloads. Can someone estimate the amount of greenhouse gases that will contribute to the polution in Steamboat? Its pretty obvious, we are allowing others to kill us slowly. Don't forget to thank your local city councilman for shortening your life and killing what was once so good. --------------------------->

"All of those trucks have to come through town," he said. "That's a huge traffic issue."

There's no end to the traffic in the near future.

"On my project alone, we will have over 2,000 truckloads of rock and sand," Kohler said. "We're only a third of the way through that, probably."


id04sp 9 years, 9 months ago


What about all of the totally unnecessary trips to town to stop by the P. O. box? It's time for our postmaster to make a bold move into the 19th century and start delivering mail to homes and businesses. We pay the same price as everybody else for a stamp, but in addition, we pay for gas to go to town for NO OTHER REASON on many days than to pick up the mail. Put that in your greenhouse.


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