On the 'Net
Visit www.us40west.com for more information about the west of Steamboat Springs U.S. Highway 40 NEPA study or to join the project mailing list.
If you go
What: U.S. Highway 40 NEPA study open house
When: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.
Call: City of Steamboat Springs Project Manager Laura Anderson at 871-7074
The public has a chance Wednesday to weigh in on a plan to widen U.S. Highway 40 to four lanes in western Steamboat Springs.
A group studying alternatives for a five-mile stretch of the highway from 12th Street to the western edge of the city's urban growth boundary, near the Steamboat Golf Club, will hold an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The western boundary is outside city limits but within areas being considered for annexation.
The study is addressing alternatives to meet transportation needs while also studying the effects of the alternatives on environmental resources. Because U.S. 40 is part of the federal highway system, the study is required under the National Environmental Protection Act.
The NEPA study is sponsored by the city of Steamboat Springs, Routt County, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. Jacobs Engineering is conducting the study.
"The purpose of the meeting is to get some public input on recommendations for improvements to U.S. 40," said Craig Gaskill, public involvement manager for Jacobs Engineering. "Based on the public input, the City Council and county commissioners are going to meet later in June and come up with a preferred alternative."
In addition to widening the highway to four lanes, the NEPA study group also is homing in on a preferred alternative that promotes alternative modes of travel, as outlined in the city and county's joint West Steamboat Springs Area Plan. The preferred option incorporates an access management plan developed for the same stretch of the highway and adopted by city and county officials last year.
The study group also is reviewing 10-foot separated sidewalks along U.S. 40, double left-hand turn lanes at the intersection of Elk River Road and U.S. 40, and a pedestrian overpass or underpass at the same intersection. Other potential improvements include double left turn lanes at 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue and westward extensions of Steamboat Springs Transit bus lines.
Gaskill said suggested improvements reflect feedback received at the NEPA study group's first open house in January.
The study group already has considered and rejected proposals including expanding U.S. 40 to six lanes, creating reversible high-occupancy toll lanes, a roundabout at U.S. 40 and Elk River Road and grade-separated intersections, also known as flyovers. City Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said she is pleased with the direction the study is going.
"I'm pleased with it so far because I know there's been a lot of knowledgeable people working on it. : I had real concerns when I heard talk about a six-lane highway," said Hermacinski, who said she thought it would be too costly and time-consuming for the city to obtain the necessary right of way for such a wide expansion. "I was really happy to see that they backed off of the six lanes because of that reason alone."