Paving in downtown Steamboat put off a week |

Paving in downtown Steamboat put off a week

Officials: Unanticipated obstacles slow concrete pouring schedule

Jack Weinstein

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.

— 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.

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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.

For more

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, visit the project Web site at

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

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