Colorado Mountain College will realign 12th Street as part of the requirement to build a secondary access road to the college to serve the new 60,000-square-foot administrative and classroom building. CMC will host a public meeting about the street realignment March 29.

Photo by John F. Russell

Colorado Mountain College will realign 12th Street as part of the requirement to build a secondary access road to the college to serve the new 60,000-square-foot administrative and classroom building. CMC will host a public meeting about the street realignment March 29.

CMC to realign 12th Street in project to build campus access

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Colorado Mountain College will realign 12th Street as part of the requirement to build a secondary access road to the college to serve the new 60,000-square-foot administrative and classroom building. CMC will host a public meeting about the street realignment March 29.

— Colorado Mountain College will realign 12th Street as part of a construction project to make the Crawford Avenue spur the secondary access to the Alpine Campus.

The city required the college to build a secondary access as part of the project to construct a 60,000-square-foot administration and classroom building. CMC Facilities Director Peter Waller said the realignment stemmed from the city making sure emergency service vehicles and snow plows could turn onto 12th Street from the Crawford spur.

“The reason it had to be done, in order to make that intersection work, they had to realign the street,” he said.

City Public Works Engineer Ben Beall said the realignment, which wasn’t specifically addressed in the development agreement between Steamboat Springs and the college, came up during design review. He said it’s not uncommon for private projects to make offsite improvements to public infrastructure if the projects facilitated the improvements.

Beall said 12th Street would move about 20 feet to the east on city right-of-way taking the bend out of the road between Oak Street and Crawford Avenue. He said a retaining wall of stacked boulders would be east of the road.

“The biggest impact is straightening the road and regrading the hillside to the east of the roadway,” he said.

Waller said the administration and classroom building, which broke ground in May, is expected to be complete in July. He said CMC staff would have about a month to move in before classes start Aug. 27.

By the time the building is complete, Waller said he expected work to be finished on the project to make the Crawford spur a two-lane road that meets all city specifications. Waller said he hoped the widening of the intersection and the realignment of 12th Street would be done shortly before fall classes begin.

During construction, Waller said access to 12th Street would be restricted to everyone but residents. He said the college would develop a traffic control plan for that time.

Waller said the traffic plan and aspects of the project would be shared during a public meeting scheduled for March 29 at the library on campus.

Robert Ellsworth, who has lived for about 15 years on the northwest corner of 12th Street and the Crawford spur with his wife, Sarah Katherman, said they initially opposed the project because they were worried that the intersection would be unsafe.

“At first, we were just filled with dread,” he said. “Now we’re calming down. The future will tell us how it will impact our lives. Now, we’re in wait-and-see mode. But the level of planning and their communication with us, we have a pretty good feeling.”

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

John Fielding 2 years, 1 month ago

. This road has risen in cost significantly since the original concept that did not involve moving 12th St, becoming nearer comparable in construction costs. Yet is still does not meet the criteria for a secondary access, as its entrance is much too close to Bob Adams Drive. It is still a steep and problematic roadway, as potentially dangerous as Bob Adams. The closing of 12th St during its construction will have a major effect on traffic.

But most importantly, it only addresses a short term condition at a great cost. It will not serve the needs of the college for any future expansions, and does not serve the needs of the community to avoid increased traffic on existing roads not well suited for it.

While theoretically there is no increase in traffic from the new campus center, in reality there surely will be, especially due to the use of the new auditorium, and that traffic will be directed to 11th St, probably the narrowest and most subject to accidents of all the signal controlled side streets due to diagonal parking on both sides. The 5 way intersection at 11th and Oak is extremely dangerous due to a steep approach, routine mistakes regarding the absence of 4 way stop signs, and mistakes over cars signaling right turns for Oak vs Pine streets.

In the original proposal of a new dedicated primary access road from Lincoln at 13th, the college provided everything the planners and engineers asked for, resulting in a facility that would serve for generations of expansions. Only the unenthusiastic reception of the plan by the previous council prevented its execution and sent the college looking for cheaper options.

That new primary access road will still be required for future expansions, and the vast amount of money spent on this effort will be largely wasted. But it is not too late to avoid this unfortunate circumstance. If the City requests the college to return to plan A, and backs that up with a temporary deferment of the requirement for the upgraded secondary access and some funding to help construct and maintain the roadway, the college would likely be pleased to reconsider. If the community voted in a temporary financial support similar to the airline subsidy, it would be a boost to the colleges expansion that would provide a permanent increase in the local economy and a facility of great service to the community.

Come to the presentation, and let your voice be heard in support of wise use of taxpayers dollars.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 1 month ago

"Temporary financial support"? Is that a sneaky way of saying raise the sales tax again? Temporary has a way of becoming permanent. Keep going and you will have the sales tax to 10%. Just what we need. The college already costs me $146.73 a year in property taxes.

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John Fielding 2 years, 1 month ago

. Didn't mean to make it sound sneaky, just not quite specific, so as to include other options such as a bond. Perhaps what I should have said is "one time" financial support.

The costs to us of supporting the College are very reasonable in comparison to its benefits to the local community. These certainly include increased economic activity from students and visitors, hence the comparison to the airline subsidy. But investment in the expansion of the campus and programs also provides many other much longer lasting benefits.

A good example of the value received is found just by looking at the configuration of the new campus center building. Among other functions it contains specialized facilities for training in the culinary arts, boot fitting, and ski tuning. These programs, together with many others. are designed to meet the specific needs of the local economy. Our local college is not just a place for beginning a path to earning a higher degree, it is a technical school that is very sensitive to local needs.

If you are a local business owner who finds it hard to hire qualified help, our local college may well design a training course to meet the that need. They are there to serve us, just ask.

But the point I am making is that they need our support, and this compromised project is clearly a result of it not having been given. It will result in a far greater expense to taxpayers in the long run as well as increasing the potential for traffic congestion and serious accidents in the short term. All the knowledgeable individuals I have talked to agree that the new primary access must eventually be built, most predictions sooner (a decade) rather than later (a generation). It would be a tremendous savings and prevent many problems to do it now. .

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John Fielding 2 years, 1 month ago

. Just a small clarification, in my first comment I meant to say that the construction costs of the "cheaper alternative" are becoming nearly comparable to those of the original new primary access proposal. At this point the difference might be as low as 30-40% for a far superior long term solution vs a limited use stopgap measure. .

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jerry carlton 2 years, 1 month ago

No problem with anything you said John but raise the money from donations or any way you want to. Quit raising my taxes! The library costs me $127.94 a year in property taxes. In 2004 before the new library was built it cost me $68.04 a year in property taxes. That was a 88% increase from 2004 to 2011. From 1999 to 2010 my property taxes increased 93% in 11 years. Finally in 2011 my property taxes dropped by16% after the value of my home fell by approximately 40%. At all levels of government tax increases, and spending is out of control.

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John Fielding 2 years, 1 month ago

. Jerry, I agree completely about spending being out of control, that is exactly why I take issue with this multimillion dollar short term solution to something that is not really a problem. This project of the enhanced Crawford spur could be dropped entirely if the standard for access was relaxed just slightly.

For many years the Spur was considered acceptable as an emergency only access way. Now it must be upgraded to a "secondary access" that according to out fire marshals interpretation must meet basically the same standards as a primary access. But it does not even meet the specification for a secondary access since it is far too close to the primary access. in addition the restrictions placed on the use of the enhanced Spur make it more just an emergency access anyway.

In a real emergency the existing spur would be perfectly adequate as long as it is kept plowed, scoriaed, salted etc. This has not happened in previous years, I sometimes helped plow it myself just for the benefit my neighbors who live up there. Now that it is important for construction use the maintenance has been very good. And the plow trucks and fire truck drivers all know how to approach it, one does not have to make the hairpin turn, it can be approached down 12th st or across from Crawford. If one had to come at it up 12th, a 2 point turn would do it for the longest fire trucks.

So why are we spending millions to build it? Because we have allowed our government officials so much power to set standards "for our safety" and free access to our funds to meet them. But if we can create these standards, we can change them. The fire marshal has already allowed approval of a plan that does not meet the standard. It is clear that an act of the council could allow a greater variance, as long as a reasonable emergency access exists, that is enough.

When we are going to spend our hard earned funds on a road project, lets get real value for it, solve some real problems, Lets not spend it just to make a show of closer compliance to a regulation than can clearly be flexible within reason. .

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jerry carlton 2 years, 1 month ago

After 14 years of living here, it is my observation that the majority of Routt County residents do not care how much they pay in taxes. They have passed 90%? of taxes presented to them!

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JJ Southard 2 years, 1 month ago

Why don't you just write an article of your own, John.

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John Fielding 2 years, 1 month ago

. Thanks, JJ, It seems that's what I did here in bits and pieces. Maybe I can just edit into one whole and ask the paper to print it. .

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