Traffic makes its way through downtown Steamboat Springs along Lincoln Avenue on Thursday evening when construction caused considerable delays for vehicles heading west during rush hour.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Traffic makes its way through downtown Steamboat Springs along Lincoln Avenue on Thursday evening when construction caused considerable delays for vehicles heading west during rush hour.

Paving in downtown Steamboat put off a week

Officials: Unanticipated obstacles slow concrete pouring schedule

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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 www.coloradodot.info 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, visit the project Web site at www.coloradodot.info/projects/us40steamboat.

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

— Unforeseen problems have delayed for a few days the start of paving work on U.S. Highway 40 in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Jody Patten, project information manager for Scott Contracting, said paving was scheduled to begin this week. Instead, it’s scheduled to begin Wednesday night or Thursday morning. She said weather remains the wild card.

The $5.6 million project will replace the asphalt with concrete on Lincoln Avenue from 13th to Third streets, as well as add a traffic light at 11th Street, incorporate bump-outs at each intersection and upgrade existing sewers.

While digging up the asphalt, crews discovered a layer of concrete and unstable clay soil beneath the existing road surface, Patten said. She said that caused crews to have to dig deeper than anticipated and has resulted in additional work to stabilize the ground for paving.

“This isn’t like we’re having to come up with a new method to get this substructure the way we want it,” Patten said. “We just hoped when we went underneath the asphalt pavement, we would find a stable surface to lay the concrete down. That didn’t happen.”

Philo Shelton, the city’s public works director, said the asphalt and concrete being removed from Lincoln Avenue is being stockpiled at the old lagoon west of the Routt Cou­­nty Sheriff’s Office. Shelton said the materials will be ground up and used for future road projects.

The earth materials are being put into the lagoon, Shelton said. He said the city has a plan to fill the lagoon to add green space at some point.

In preparation for Wednes­day night’s scheduled paving, Patten said the 36-foot-wide paver would be moved to 13th Street from the Stock Bridge Transit Center on Monday night and possibly into Tuesday morning, weather permitting. Moving the paver will take about three hours. Patten added that when the paver is turned on, it will be “very loud.”

The project has caused delays in navigating through downtown. Westbound traffic on U.S. 40 into downtown was backed up to Hilltop Parkway on Wednesday. Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Joel Rae said he didn’t know why traffic was backed up more than usual. Rae said despite the additional westbound traffic, he thought the department’s traffic control efforts were going well.

“The whole goal of the project is to keep traffic moving as safely and smoothly as possible,” he said. “With what’s going on, I think that’s happening with the exception of morning and evening rush hour.”

Rae said he understands that the downtown traffic is a burden but asked that residents obey traffic laws, remain patient, plan ahead and not rush.

The project, which Scott Contracting hopes to finish by June 30, also includes installation of storm drains at Third and Fifth streets, a fiber optic conduit for traffic signals, concrete bump-outs at each intersection, colored crosswalks, a new traffic signal at 11th Street, and curb and gutter work.

Patten said the additional roadwork and last week’s snowstorms resulted in a loss of about a week.

“Needless to say, this is jeopardizing our ability to finish by June,” she said.

If Scott Contracting is unable to complete the project by June, it can’t resume before Sept. 1, according to its agreement with the city to not work during the summer tourist season. Its contractual completion date is Nov. 12, after which it would face daily fines for not finishing the work.

Comments

RPG 4 years, 10 months ago

"Concrete bump outs at each intersection"

If this means that the side walk will protrude into the right most turning lane then cars making right turns will be forced to the left, interfering with, or stopping the flow of traffic in that lane. The cars turning right will have to wait for pedestrians to clear the crosswalk before they can complete their right turn. I hoped that the new paving would improve the flow of traffic through downtown, not impede it.

Please tell me I don't have this right.

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weststmbtres 4 years, 10 months ago

RPG, You don't have this right. That's not a turning lane. It is in fact illegal to pull into the parking/bustop lane and pass cars on the right. Not that I'm for the bumpouts. The ones they put at 6th or 7th have already been destroyed by the snowplows.

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Matthew Stoddard 4 years, 10 months ago

weststmbtres is correct. I can speak from experience. About 15yrs ago, I was turning right onto 3rd at the Post Office. I started to pull over to the right to go around forward traffic. Someone ahead of me didn't see me and pulled to the right (amazingly enough, trying to bypass those in front of him, same as me, to turn right) and hits my car. I was considered at fault for passing on the right...even though the other car was trying the exact same thing. LOL!

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm sure I'm not the only former snow removal professional that's cringing at the thought of having to plow around those bump-outs. I sure hope there's room in all subsequent budgets that provide for the replacement/repair of a fair number of those bump-outs.

And by the frigin' way(this is for everyone)....PLEASE be mindful of the boundaries of the intersections that are still functional(namely 5th & Lincoln)!!! Just because there's room for your car in the middle of the intersection, doesn't mean that you need to move your car into the middle of the intersection while you wait for the traffic to clear in front of you. If you're wrong about how quickly you think the cars ahead of you are moving, you could very well be blocking the ENTIRE intersection. Please be patient and wait until there's room for your vehicle on the other side of the intersection! Most of us would assume this to be common logic, but apparently it needs to be said.

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Scott Berry 4 years, 10 months ago

All Liberals in town please defend this atrocity! This is classic governmental incompetence, abuse of power, and the uncontrollable penchant to spend money.

First, Lincoln Ave. did not need to be completely redone!

Second, all the locals know Lincoln Ave. was concrete in the fifties and sixties. It was covered with asphalt to decrease traffic noise and facilitate snow melt.

Enter government bureaucrats : Someone, who should be ferreted out, has mandated that we spend 5.4 million of our money to return to the past. They are taking our money and freely spending it to increase traffic noise, encumber traffic flow, reduce snow melt, and hamper snow-plowing with the bulb outs. And lastly, they (the government bureaucrats) are doing this at a tremendous expense to the locals, especially the local businesses.

And, now they claim they are surprised by the concrete under the blacktop! This cannot be real! Heads need to roll! Are they really this incompetent? Or, is this just government at its best? Did they really mandate a concrete road when they didn’t know we already had one? We need to know who is responsible for this incompetence!

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 10 months ago

Commonscents - I'm sorry that you were unaware of the multi-year public process that led to this project. It would have been great to benefit from long-time local's historical perspective. I hope that you see this project follow the Glenwood Springs model, where many complaints during the project were followed by accolades upon completion, and that you'll become a satisfied customer.

Although your criticism is appreciated, you might more effectively suggest improvements to projects during planning instead of during their construction. The Northwest Transportation Planning Region (NWTPR) Regional Planning Commission meets next Thursday April 22, 2010, 10:00 am-2 pm, at Olympian Hall. Updates on future projects in the region are on the agenda and there's always an opportunity for public comment.

FYI, I'm not a fan of the design for Lincoln Avenue. Bump-outs getting beat up by the plows are a legitimate concern. I hate the bus stop designs and pleaded for an approach that wouldn't trap buses in "bathtub" stops, that will fill with snow, and which will make picking up passengers with the wheelchair more difficult. Nevertheless, Steamboat residents and business owners decided on this design and neither my concerns nor your criticisms should stop the project now that its underway.

Still, if you must cast blame, go ahead and cast it at me as the Transportation Commissioner for Region 6. I'm earning $150/month in exchange for my work, while forgoing consulting jobs in my 7 county district, but off with my head if it must be.

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jk 4 years, 10 months ago

George, You keep telling everyone to get involved in the planning and design process, then state that your proffesional opinions regarding this project were passed over. Why the hell would the general public want to waiste their time involving themselves when their opinions won't count for anything anyway?? Ahhh our lovely government at work!!

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Scott Berry 4 years, 10 months ago

George – Thanks for stepping up! I do appreciate your willingness to do so. However, I am confused about two points.

First, are we to believe that you, a volunteer for the Transportation Commissioner of Region 6, made this decision? If so, how did we end up with the bulb outs, when you say you do not agree with them? Your stated concerns are very valid but the powers to be at the city claim the state wanted them to increase “green time”. So who did make that decision?

Second, are you implying that the State is blameless in their ignorance of the concrete surface overlaid with asphalt because the locals didn’t tell them?

Lastly, no - we are not going to stop this project. However, it is not to late find the culprit, and like the private sector, make sure that person(s) does not have the authority to make a similar mistake.

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David Hill 4 years, 10 months ago

JK,

I think you missed George's point completely. It was the residents and the business owners that did participate in the planning and design process that had the greatest influence on the project design. Because of the requirement for public involvement in most public work projects anywhere in the country, the few vocal participants that take the time to get involved are the ones that end of shaping the final outcome. As George said, if you don’t like the outcome, during construction is not the time to complain. Get involved in the planning and let your voice be heard then.

There are times the final decisions may go against the recommendations of the professionals such as George. There are generally many different alternatives and variations that can be applied to a project, all of which may be technically feasible, but have advantages and disadvantages. Unless a concept violates generally accepted design standards or practices it is hard for the professionals to override the will of the public.

As a transportation engineer I too have concerns with the impacts the bumpouts have on snow removal and to turning vehicles. The pluses are they reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians and therefore can reduce the time need to be provided to the side street, and generally improve pedestrian safety. If the businesses had a large input into the final decision then their agenda is generally to slow down traffic and make it easier for the pedestrians to move around and visit their businesses.

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 10 months ago

I participated in the design process as the City Transportation Services Director, prior to taking on the Commissioner role, but I was not the lead staff. The design process included consultants, extensive citizen input, and the business community. There were a lot of players and I could not expect to dictate design but, honestly, my lack of influence on a design so important to "Transportation Services" contributed to my decision to resign. Better to leave them laughing than hang around to whine, eh?

I enjoyed working for the city and am not casting stones. There seemed to be a little "familiarity breeds contempt" at work, since my opinions after 13 years of city employment had less impact than when I first came to town as a consultant, but that's part of the game. I'm happy to be working on projects in other communities now.

A public design process and democracy are both messy, sometimes inefficient, and sometimes produce less than brilliant results. Nevertheless, I still prefer to express my opinions, even if they are rejected, and to vote for my preferred candidate or legislation, even if they go down in defeat, than to live under a brilliant tyrant. (Well, maybe if I'm the tyrant but otherwise no way!)

I'll ask CDOT staff more about how and when subsurface conditions are researched. At the moment, I don't know whether this would be a design issue or something that the contractor does. Sorry, but road building isn't my core expertise. I've been in the transit industry since learning to drive buses at 18, and I turn 60 this year, so I know lots about transportation systems, but I don't have a ready response to this question. I'm not implying that the State is blameless nor agreeing that we need to hunt down a culprit. I just don't know enough to speak to the question at the moment.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 10 months ago

A town with one road unwilling to face reality, is going to experience a long summer. You ain't seem nothing yet.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 10 months ago

So why it is no longer possible to get good asphalt? Somebody lose the recipe?

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greenwash 4 years, 10 months ago

Im surprised that we knowingly are allowing fill to occur along the Yampa River with contaminated soils and petrolium based asphalt.Ill believe the grinding theory when I see it.Looks to me like they are burying it. NOT VERY SUSTAINABLE.

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Tubes 4 years, 10 months ago

I drove by twice this afternoon and the site was shut down. Unless I missed something, it's an afternoon of ideal construction weather wasted. Get after it, that concrete isn't going to lay itself.

(and no reason not to just work through the weekends this time of year--this is as dead as it gets around here)

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 10 months ago

Scott, I take it back. I'm unwilling to go into a technical subject in which I'm ill versed in the blog. I'm stepping off those train tracks right now and leaving the relative quality of asphalt in recent years out of my arguments.

YVB, I'm over-blogged. In the Mud Season thread, I explained that Gunnison is a good match for our climate and their concrete intersections are reportedly working well. I agree that Glenwood is the banana-belt compared to here. My comparison was not to climate but to the criticism CDOT took during the project and my hope that we will be equally satisfied following the project.

It's too early to declare "Mission accomplished!" but it's equally early to declare that the job botched, the Yampa ruined, and the sky fallen. I'm not sure why everybody has such low esteem for "the damn highway department" but I can't rise to all this chum.

Please look at http://www.coloradodot.info/projects/us40steamboat and/or contact Jody Patten, Project Public Information Manager, at jody@pattencom.com or (970) 819-7008. Jody can work with CDOT to respond to what is happening to the fill, the environmental considerations, why people are leaning on their shovels, and so on. Honestly, not as a brush off but you'll get better information than by my blogging.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 10 months ago

George, Didn't intend to ask a difficult question. Apparently I do not know enough regarding why asphalt is no longer as good to be able to enter a search query that tells me anything other road closures and such. Can you provide me a link to that topic? Thank you.

BTW, I have a premonition that our snow plow drivers will have difficulty avoiding the bump outs, the city will do research because there must be cities in Europe with obstacles and they will learn that there is some German made snow plow with a 1 meter turning radius and so the City will spend another $300K on a pair of snowplows from Germany in order to plow downtown bump outs. And then when they both break down and neither works properly then we will have to bring in German mechanics whom will be stunned that we do not work on them after every shift to readjust everything back to German manufacturer tolerances. After they spend a few weeks rebuilding them while constantly swearing at American lack of proper maintenance procedures, they will work fine, but the City will not accept the ongoing high maintenance costs so the bump outs will be torn up, most will be replaced by straight curbs and a few at the primary ped crossing are redesigned to work with standard snow plow trucks.

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insbsdeep 4 years, 10 months ago

It was pretty interesting that no one was working yesterday. Extra material removal, haul off, and more base prep = more money and more time. Is this going to cost a Million more? Did contractors pull off to negotiate the extra money and time?

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 10 months ago

Scott, Even mentioning the concrete vs. asphalt war is a misstep on my part. Trade associations aggressively promote each product's advantages. Suffice it to say that asphalt and concrete are complex compounds. Their composition has changed as refining techniques and additives have evolved.

My undergraduate chemistry minor is not going to be adequately carry us through a debate on the subject so, with regrets for bringing it up, I'm bowing out. Fred and others more intimately involved with road building can contribute but I'll defer until I'm better and more formally informed on the subject.

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Aaron Murphy 4 years, 10 months ago

I love how SO many things on here get turned into political and personal arguments.

Hop on a bike and cruise the core-trail, skip all that eastbound traffic in the morning and westbound traffic in the evening.

Commuting from Milner/Hayden/Craig? No problem. Throw your bike on the front of the Regional SST bus, use it to cruise around town, and catch a ride back in the afternoon from the west end so you can skip sitting on a bus in traffic.

Heck, even Steamboat II has a stop, so folks from SBII, Heritage, and Silver Spur can take advantage if they don't want to ride bikes a few miles on the highway.

It's construction. It happens, in the summer months, every summer. You knew it was coming, adapt. This is paradise, people. Stop looking for things to hate.

:)

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 10 months ago

Aaron, And all this time I have thoiught that this was a complicated problem.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 10 months ago

Aaron- Why can't we just issue everyone jet-packs?

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 10 months ago

So much easier to whine and mock than to suggest solutions. I don't find Aaron nearly so off-base but then I ride my own bicycle past the traffic jam daily.

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exduffer 4 years, 10 months ago

Since there seems to be unforeseen problems, why don't we put it out for re-bid. This time with entran, and someone to take core samples first.

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 10 months ago

We could have a trebuchet at the Stockbridge and a net on the east side of downtown. Much less energy consumptive than the jet packs.

What is the point of your carping, Boy? Do you agree with exduffer? Would you like to shut it down for awhile and rebid it? If I buy my home where I can use my bicycle for 95% of my local travel, how is that sitting and dreaming of a utopian lifestyle?

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 10 months ago

Okay...I'm flip-flopping on the issue. I hereby stand in favor of trebuchets being installed at all major transportation hubs through-out the city. Flying squirrel suits(and helmets) for everyone!!!

x-duff, Entran would be phenomenal and so would its operating costs. Would the energy costs for this be looped in with free bus, as far as funding goes?

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exduffer 4 years, 10 months ago

No, it would be powered by all the hot air generated by these forums.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 10 months ago

Maybe we could get a line plumbed in from the 700 people? Or how 'bout the Tea Party-ers?

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callguinness 4 years, 10 months ago

As much as I hate traffic, and as much as this is a pain in the ... I still think we need to remember where we live, and how great this town really is. Would I say this is a perfect solution, maybe not, but it could be worse for sure. What if they had to close it down to one lane only, and have traffic stopped in one direction while the others pass. This little traffic trouble for a few months is very minor in the grand scheme of life. Some places have construction on their roads that last for years. It always sucks, but sometimes we need to look at the big picture and the long term success here, not just 3-4 months of slow driving through town.

So far as the fourth of july goes, maybe it won't be done. Think of the fun float ideas, a construction zone related parade. I think we all need to have a little more fun with all this and not stress so much.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 10 months ago

A trebuchet makes no sense. Are you all goofy? The major design innovations of the trebuchet is to use a lower power source of energy to very efficiently quickly release a lot of energy to fling something a long ways. Lower energy power sources is no longer an engineering limitation. Gunpowder provided a high energy source and quickly put an end to trebuchets. For a modern mechanical system, using pressure (hydraulics or air) is the more efficient method of distributing force. So an air cannon system should be used instead of a trebuchet. It is not hard to find examples of the superiority of air cannons - look at videos of pumpkin chuckin where the air cannons chuck far further.

But being flung in the air is not a very efficient method of transportation. Air tubes are far more efficient. I note that with the street torn up that this is our one chance to install an underground pneumatic air tube individual transport system through downtown. We've seen that sort of system work well enough on the Jetsons. And with all of the effort made to put the utilities underground along downtown then it'd be real silly to leave the Jetsons style transport system above ground.

Well, with all the brilliant ideas on this thread, construction should obviously be stopped and the project redesigned.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 10 months ago

Okay, so trebuchets out.....human launching rail guns then? Or do those even exist in a civilian model yet?

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 10 months ago

The tube system was proposed between Aspen and Snowmass since Aspen is downhill and, as everybody knows, Snowmass sucks. I'm not sure we have an analogous vacuum source here.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 10 months ago

Well, main street is starting to suck pretty bad.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 10 months ago

George, SB has not allowed itself to be outsucked by any other resort town. Not only that, those that suck would probably demand a terminal anyway. I'm talking of City Hall! What could be a greater vacuum than that? And with a terminal at Ski Time Square powered by the void created by vacant lots up there, our system could have the primary line primarily powered by local natural forces.

Okay, I'm ready for some grant money now.

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oldskoolstmbt 4 years, 10 months ago

i can hardly wait to see the amount of this change order!! RE-BID...and let's use someone local!

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exduffer 4 years, 10 months ago

Why not include in the re-bid the roofing of the river from Iron Horse to the transit center ( ala Vails plans for I-70). East bound traffic could drive on top of the roof and west bound could stay on Lincoln. This would increase tourism and employment for the tubing companies. This should make the fishermen happy if the city limits the tubers to 50 per day for 365 days of the year.

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 10 months ago

Fair enough, YVB, I accept that we all love the valley.

Unfortunately, the "pros" you complain about are people with names, families, and feelings to me. They are Pam Hutton, Weldon Allen, David Eller, Philo Shelton, and a lot of other people who, being human, are fallible but none of whom are doing anything other than their best with the available resources. I don't think they've screwed this up but, even if they had, I would focus on what can be done to fix things rather than ripping these pros.

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