Shane Smith, right, Sal Ocano, middle, and Bob Syperreck, with Rocky Mountain Enterprises, install HotTape crosswalk striping Thursday at Eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Shane Smith, right, Sal Ocano, middle, and Bob Syperreck, with Rocky Mountain Enterprises, install HotTape crosswalk striping Thursday at Eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue.

New crosswalks draw fire

Former transit official says markings are wasteful

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— Road markings are being added or replaced at 16 Steamboat Springs intersections - and causing a collision of opinions.

A former transportation official said the project is wasting taxpayers' money while a CDOT spokeswoman said the expense is necessary.

Larry Backus, who said he supervised the state highway department's Steamboat office for 11 years, said the Colorado Department of Transportation is using an expensive material for crosswalks it will have to tear up when it overhauls U.S. Highway 40 downtown. That project could begin in fall 2009.

CDOT is adding markings at five spots and replacing markings at 11 sites on and near Lincoln Avenue, CDOT regional spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said. The agency chose thermoplastic markings over paint, which she said are more durable in harsh weather and also cost five to 10 times as much.

"It's not chicken feed," Backus said. "It's a lot of money."

Thermoplastic adheres to the asphalt. CDOT uses it across the state, Shanks said. The work in Steamboat is part of routine maintenance of state-controlled roads, she said. The 11 markings being replaced already used the inlaid material instead of paint, Shanks said.

She acknowledged the agency would have to replace the crosswalks after removing the asphalt along U.S. 40 and installing concrete.

Backus said the current project was "kind of like painting a house and then burning it down six months later." He said CDOT should just add the crosswalks in spring.

The markings can't wait, Shanks said.

"We have to refresh and replace what needs to be done in Steamboat so we maintain safety," Shanks said.

If all goes well, CDOT will advertise the Lincoln Avenue project to contractors in July, she said.

"It will probably be a two-season project," Shanks said, meaning it wouldn't be done until 2010. "We couldn't leave the pavements without markings for that long."

Doug Marsh, street/fleet superintendent for the city, said Steamboat uses regular paint for its road markings. Snowplows tend to wipe those out, Marsh said. The thermoplastic is supposed to last three to four years, depending on plowing, he said.

"I think what they're hoping for is that the crosswalks stay all through winter, where in the past you wouldn't be able to see them because the paint would have worn out," Marsh said.

Comments

Zac Brennan 6 years ago

CDOT seems to march to their own drummer, for sure. Who else could get away with disrupting traffic west of town during 'rush' hour? And I love watching their street sweeper dump road dirt in front of the do not litter sign across from the bowling alley in the unpaved truck stop/parking area. After any rain or snowmelt the trucks just drag the dirt back onto the highway. Who owns that property anyway? Why has it not been paved?

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Harvey Lyon 6 years ago

So.....in downtown Steamboat....has anyone noticed folks actually using crosswalks unless that's the exact point they want to cross???

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Brant McLaughlin 5 years, 10 months ago

First snow of the season and good portions of the new "crooked" crosswalk striping at 5th street have already been scraped off by the CDOT and city trucks.

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Brant McLaughlin 5 years, 6 months ago

Did anyone happen to notice the city road crews out in town today scraping off the remaining remnants of the new thermoplastic crosswalks. As if it wasn't bad enough that this stuff cost 5 to 10 times as much to put down, now we are paying city workers to scrape whats left off the roads.

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Brant McLaughlin 5 years, 6 months ago

"Doug Marsh, street/fleet superintendent for the city, said Steamboat uses regular paint for its road markings. Snowplows tend to wipe those out, Marsh said. The thermoplastic is supposed to last three to four years, depending on plowing, he said."

Three to four years. How about three to four months.

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