Drivers urged to alternate in Steamboat construction

Patten: Using both lanes near merge areas helps decrease backups


Project update

Jody Patten, project information manager for Scott Contracting, is providing several sources of information about the U.S. Highway 40 construction project. She will give updates at least daily on the project information hot line, 819-7008. A map of the coming week’s work zones will be in a newspaper ad each Friday. The map also will be sent via e-mail.

To sign up for e-mail updates on the project, visit and click on the “Sign up for E-mail and Wireless Alerts” link in the upper right corner. Enter an e-mail address, select the appropriate updates and click “Submit.” If you already receive Patten’s e-mail updates, you do not need to sign up online.

For more information, go the project website at

Public meetings will be held every other week throughout the duration of the project at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays in Centennial Hall.

— Some drivers might have the wrong idea about how best to maneuver through the U.S. Highway 40 construction in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Jody Patten, project information manager for Scott Contracting, said drivers should use both lanes for as long as possible before the traffic merges into one lane. When it’s time to merge, drivers should alternate one car from each lane, Patten said.

People coming toward downtown from the east often get into the left lane as soon as they know the right lane will eventually close.

“They all kind of instantly get into the left lane because they think that’s going to be the fastest lane for them,” Patten said.

They think they’re being polite, she said, and give dirty looks to those who do drive in the right lane until the merger point.

“People think they’re doing the right thing, and they’re really not,” Patten said. “What they’re really doing is slowing the traffic.”

She said the preferred process works to improve traffic flow and has proven successful across the state. Patten compared it to alternating in ski lift lines.

If drivers use both lanes and alternate, it prevents the long stack-up of cars in the left lane while the right lane remains open, she said.


Kevin Haynes 7 years ago

This is VERY helpful! Thanks for letting us know!


Zac Brennan 7 years ago

Why not have a cop show people how to merge? They stand around at 9th street and tell us how to do a left turn now. The CSP just seems to sit in their car waiting to write someone up. Have them get out and help direct traffic. Or is this too low tech for them?


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