An excavator removes the old roadway along Lincoln Avenue on Monday afternoon as the downtown repaving project continues. The Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said the project is a week ahead of the department’s own schedule.

Photo by John F. Russell

An excavator removes the old roadway along Lincoln Avenue on Monday afternoon as the downtown repaving project continues. The Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said the project is a week ahead of the department’s own schedule.

US 40 in downtown Steamboat work off to fast start

Concrete pours could begin this morning from 9th to 7th streets

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— Construction crews are a week ahead of schedule on the second and final phase of downtown Steamboat Springs’ major road improvement project, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said Monday.

The first concrete pour, between Ninth and Seventh streets, is scheduled to begin this morning, and crews potentially could start the second pour Friday. Crews worked during the weekend to kick-start the $5.6 million project that began in spring and was halted for the busiest two months of the summer tourism season.

Shanks said good weather is helping the pace of the work.

“I believe the goal now is just to stay at this fast pace and really just work as much as the crews are able … with their schedules and their manpower,” she said.

The Scott Contracting workers are putting in long hours while the weather is nice, she said, to create a cushion in case there is bad weather.

The project’s completion deadline is Nov. 18, but Sha­­nks said crews are ahead of even their own schedule. She declined to provide an earlier completion date because of the possibility of weather or equipment delays. A wet spring was partly to blame for the project’s slow initial start.

Weather prediction will rem­ain an important tool during the remainder of the job, especially when crews are pouring concrete, Shanks said. The National Weather Service forecasts mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid-70s for the remainder of the week.

It’s expected that all of U.S. 40 through downtown will have to be closed at night at some point so crews can complete road striping and other finishing details. Shanks said that work is not yet scheduled, but crews will erect signs to notify drivers in the days leading up to the full closures.

Horrendous traffic snarls — at least by Steamboat standards — characterized the first phase of the project this spring. Similar traffic jams have not materialized in the week since the project kicked back into gear. Steamboat Springs Police Department Capt. Joel Rae said a police officer will continue to be stationed downtown to help pedestrians cross the street from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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