Steamboat Springs A utility project at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue has caused traffic headaches for a month in downtown Steamboat Springs, including a three-car pileup Monday morning.
Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Joel Rae said there were no injuries as a result of the fender bender, which occurred when a vehicle slowed to turn left into the Old Town Hot Springs and was rear-ended by another vehicle, which was then rear-ended by the vehicle behind it.
Although two Lincoln Avenue travel lanes have been maintained in each direction through the construction zone, Rae said shifting lanes and the elimination of a center turn lane have proved confusing for motorists.
"It will sure be nice when it's done," he said. "It's kind of been a mess, and if people aren't paying attention, they can easily get sideswiped."
Greg Gunn, construction service foreman for the city, said the work is scheduled for completion Nov. 15, and Public Works Director Philo Shelton said it is scheduled to leave Lincoln Avenue even sooner.
"They're hoping to be out of the travel lane by the end of the week," Shelton said.
The $4.4 million infrastructure project is a joint effort between the city and the River Walk development. An aging sewer interceptor and storm drainage near the intersection are being replaced. Last month, Shelton said the storm drainage improvements are the most significant part of the project and will remap the Spring Creek flood plain. A 9-foot-by-5-foot concrete storm culvert is being installed underneath the intersection, replacing an older and smaller culvert.
"It's never perfect because it's such a busy intersection," Shelton said. "But it's necessary just to get the work done."
Because of their tendency to hit the cones marking shifted lanes, oversized vehicles and semitrailers have proved especially problematic, Rae and Shelton said.
Rabbit Ears Motel owner Greg Koehler said there have been water and phone service interruptions as well as nighttime construction noise as a result of the work. But despite the hassles, Koehler said there has been little impact on his business. He said loyal returning guests have kept business solid and that he has been able to locate people in rooms far from the construction work.
"It certainly hasn't been very helpful, that's for sure," Koehler said. "But overall, things have gone more smoothly than I expected."
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