Kenny Loose, of Pioneer Spirits, has a front-row seat to the $5.6 million downtown repaving project, which began last week near 13th street and will be moving in phases along both sides of Lincoln Avenue in the next few months. Loose said that his regular customers have continued to come through the doors, and that he is hoping the new light at 11th street will help business in the future.

Photo by John F. Russell

Kenny Loose, of Pioneer Spirits, has a front-row seat to the $5.6 million downtown repaving project, which began last week near 13th street and will be moving in phases along both sides of Lincoln Avenue in the next few months. Loose said that his regular customers have continued to come through the doors, and that he is hoping the new light at 11th street will help business in the future.

Steamboat businesses get ready for shift to mud season

Businesses across city start specials, temporary closures, reduced hours

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Gary Haberlan enjoys a beer and chips on the patio of the Cantina in downtown Steamboat Springs as traffic backs up on Lincoln Avenue. Co-owner Kristi Brown said the restaurant plans to offer new specials next week to try to drive business during the $5.6 million downtown repaving project.

Crosstown traffic

The massive repaving project on Lincoln Avenue through downtown is picking up speed this week. Details include:

■ Overnight paving is scheduled to begin tonight, from just west of 13th Street to 11th Street.

■ There is no parking on Lincoln Avenue this week between Sixth and 13th streets.

■ Left turns off Lincoln Avenue westbound, toward Yampa Street, can be made at Fifth, Sixth and Ninth streets.

Left turns off Lincoln Avenue eastbound, toward Oak Street, can be made at Fifth, Fourth and Third streets.

■ Work zone crosswalks are near Seventh, Ninth and 11th streets.

■ Left turns off Lincoln Avenue westbound onto 13th Street are not available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To reach the Fairview neighborhood and 13th Street businesses, detour via the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge on Shield Drive.

Project updates

Jody Patten, project information manager for Scott Contracting, updates construction plans at least daily on the project information hot line, 970-819-7008.

To sign up for e-mail updates on the project, visit this site and click on the “Sign up for E-mail and Wireless Alerts” link in the upper right corner.

The next public meeting about the project is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Centennial Hall at 124 10th St.

— Traffic on ski slopes stopped while traffic downtown accelerated Monday as Steamboat Springs residents, visitors and businesses began the transition into what many are calling an ominous mud season.

Steamboat’s Village Inn restaurant on Central Park Drive is an early casualty of the season and the lingering economic recession. The restaurant will close its doors Wednesday. Elsewhere across Steamboat, several businesses are reducing their hours for the next few weeks or closing altogether until May or June, while others are remaining open and trying to drive customer visits with special offers and deals.

Kristi Brown, co-owner of the Cantina of Steamboat at 818 Lincoln Ave., said the Mexican restaurant’s “Sizzlin’ Sundays” two-for-one fajita special will continue into spring, and she plans to unveil new, additional specials next week.

“We have a lot of year-round staff with families to support,” she said. “Closing isn’t really an option for us.”

Brown said Cantina has about 25 employees on board for mud season.

On Monday afternoon, she looked out the restaurant’s wide front windows at the massive repaving project that’s slowing traffic to a crawl and blocking access to downtown businesses as work moves in phases down Steamboat’s main drag. She smiled ruefully.

“We went ahead and put our patio furniture out today,” Brown said. “We’ll probably have to dust it off every day.”

Brown noted that parking is available for Cantina customers right out the restaurant’s back door, in the public lot on Eighth Street. And a few patrons enjoyed Monday’s sunny weather on her patio. But those seats might not be as appealing later this week — Brown said Scott Contracting crews told her they could soon start tearing up pavement in front of the restaurant.

A few doors east at Straight­line Sports, owner Brett Lee said the store is offering a sale on clothing and some winter items in order to make room for spring and summer inventory.

“We’re packing all of our (ski) rentals away and tuning ’em up,” he said. “They’re not doing us much good. … We’re just making the transition from winter to summer.”

Lee said he sold a pair of skis Monday, though, one day after closing day at Steamboat Ski Area. He said he’s planning some store maintenance such as re-doing the floors in the coming weeks while business likely slows during mud season and the construction.

He said he doesn’t plan to change the store’s hours or reduce staff, but that could change.

“I kind of have to see how it all pans out,” he said.

The Steamboat Springs Cha­mber Resort Association provided the following list of mud season closures and hours of operation changes submitted by member businesses.

By location, they include:

Downtown

■ Talulla Women’s Boutique, closed on Sundays

■ Tread of Pioneers Museum, closed until 11 a.m. April 27

■ Ghost Ranch Saloon, closed until May 6, then open only Thursdays through Saturdays until mid-June

■ Old West Steakhouse, closed until April 27, then open only Tuesdays through Saturdays until mid-June

■ Giovanni’s Ristorante, open through mud season but closed on Sundays and Mondays until the summer

Mountain area

■ Sheraton Steamboat Resort, closed until noon June 11

■ The Ptarmigan Inn, closed to overnight business until May 28, and its Snowbird Restaurant, closed until Thanksgiving

Across Steamboat

■ Carpets Plus, closed April 19-23

■ Sweet Pea Tours, closed from Thursday through April 25

■ The Ore House restaurant, closed until May 14

■ Hot Springs Adventures, closed from Thursday through June 1

Comments

brian ferguson 4 years, 9 months ago

So we're calling it mud season again, we must be in a recession.

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blue_spruce 4 years, 9 months ago

"....and allow this garbage to happen to our town..."

what, taking care of our infrastructure before it falls apart?!? re-paving lincoln? its a conspiracy, i tell you! an obama-led, communist conspiracy!

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 9 months ago

YV Kid, Let me begin with a disclaimer: I won't defend the Lincoln Avenue plans as a matter of principle. Some of what has been designed strikes me as flat-out dumb. For example, I'm worried that the bus stops behind bulb-outs will make it even more difficult for SST to merge in and out of traffic. I lost that argument so I'm not defending my own designs. I am also worried that plowing will bash Hell out of the bump-outs and look awful in short order. That said, here are some thoughts:

CDOT doesn't have to spend it's budget to justify the next year expenses. The Lincoln Avenue project was funded in 2007 and was delayed to allow the community to refine its designs and prepare for the construction. There would be no problem spending the money elsewhere. It's generally not a good idea for any government agency to build big balances - money is tight and other agencies will use the money right now - but that's a general rule not unique to CDOT.

(American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money had a short fuse but economic stimulus was needed immediately, not five years from now. Another subject for another time.)

Concrete trades more expensive first cost for longevity. This project is supposed to last 30 years instead of having to put overlays on every 5 years or so. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires ramps at every intersection. Every time you overlay the street, the ramps must be fixed to meet the new grade. Concrete avoids this problem. Concrete is also better for the buses pulling into and out of bus stops. The heavy braking and accelerating rolls up asphalt so concrete is bus friendly.

Concrete is also attractive. Look at downtown Glenwood Springs. Essentially the same approach was used and it's beautiful.

Asphalt has also been declining in quality and lasting fewer years. This is a huge problem for CDOT. Steamboat is getting what CDOT believes is the best product. As Transportation Director for the city, I introduced CDOT staff to the Chamber and the downtown business association when this project was first discussed in 2005. Losing business always stinks and, worse, could cost you the business but CDOT did try to provide adequate advance warning and worked to time this to minimize impact.

Your suggestions for a better way to do it would have been welcome between 2005 and 2009, and might help another community in the future, but it's too late to change horses in the middle of Lincoln Avenue at the moment.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 9 months ago

George, The bulb outs will make it very difficult to turn a semi off Lincoln. This project is definitely anti-green with all existing roadway materials being wasted. CDOT's bureacracy makes common sense decisions like this very difficult. Before this project is over maybe some will see the wisdom of not having a one street town.

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 9 months ago

Dear Friends,

I'm in meetings today and tomorrow so I can't come out to play. I have some thoughts about what you've said but a response will have to wait. Sorry. Some of your points are well-taken but I'm puzzled by others. Fred, agree on the semis, unsure of the roadway material reuse but if economically possible the policy is to reuse. Bureaucracy is such an easy target that this seems a cheap shot at people who are working very hard to do the right thing. ....

Got to go.

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 9 months ago

"Concrete will promote ice, and impair traction."

I discussed this with outgoing Regional Transportation Director Weldon Allen. Weldon retires as District 3 executive after 35 years of service. I challenge anybody who has met Weldon to tell me that he is anything less than honest and dedicated to public service.

Weldon said the superior flatness of the concrete surface helps snow removal and therefore is does not ice-up worse than asphalt. Gunnison has concrete intersections in a cold climate. From Wikipedia, “Gunnison is located at the bottom of several valleys. Due to its location .... making it one of the coldest places in winter in the United States, especially when snowpack is present.” Weldon suggests checking with Gunnison.

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 9 months ago

“George, I don't know that you want to defend CDOT.”

I’m honored to defend CDOT but it hardly needs me for that. When the state legislature provided FASTER money for CDOT, they required an Efficiency and Accountability Committee from outside of CDOT. That committee is doing its work. I have heard some suggestions for improving CDOT revenues by accurately charging for the cost of plans but no dramatic findings of overspending have surfaced. Former Governor Owens also had a Blue Ribbon Efficiency Panel so CDOT budgets and contracting practices have been thoroughly scrutinized for years.

The problem at CDOT is the loss of talent, not lack of a guillotine. Salaries and hiring freezes have made the Regional Transportation Director positions increasingly difficult. No pay increases, no merit awards, no help from subordinate positions that have been vacant for a year. The massive responsibility for public safety keeps them awake at night. They’ve also been pressured to get projects out by American Reinvestment and Recovery Act deadlines. They have the personnel issues that come with 500 employees each.

The six RTDS are, in order of region numbers 1-6, Tony DeVito, Tim Harris, Weldon Allen (retiring), Bob Garcia (left last month to work with an engineering firm), Richard Reynolds, and Reza Akhavan. When Weldon and Bob are replaced, 4 of the 6 RTDS will be new to the job since I joined the commission in 2007. Chief Engineer Pam Hutton has her hands full since you would want to retain RTDs for their experience, not ax them.

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