Summer construction slowing down traffic and bus routes in Steamboat Springs
June 6, 2017
If the Steamboat Springs Transit bus you're waiting for doesn't show up on time, blame cone zones at Elk River Road and Après Ski Way.
Transit Manager Jonathan Flint said Tuesday construction projects on those roads are keeping city buses behind schedule at times.
"It has definitely had an impact on us," Flint said.
On-time performance of the bus system so far this summer was recently clocked at 91 percent, down a few points from the 94 percent on-time performance during the same time last year.
Buses are still running above the 85 percent on-time target the city has established.
The Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40 intersection overhaul, combined with milling operations further west on U.S. 40, have been especially impactful on local traffic.
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At times, traffic from that project has caused vehicles to back up all the way to the intersection of U.S. 40 and 13th Street.
"We'll sometimes see 10- to 15-minute delays," Flint said.
Colorado Department of Transportation resident engineer Clint Moyer said traffic has been generally moving well through the project.
He said some of the traffic delays and backups can be attributed to the temporary removal of right-turn lanes from U.S. 40 to Elk River Road.
SST has taken some steps to keep delays on the bus routes to a minimum.
Flint said a supervisor who normally has other duties has hopped into a bus at times to give backup to the west Steamboat route during the afternoon rush hour.
Transit ridership is continuing to increase this year. The local bus service transported 65,098 riders last month, an increase of nearly 1,900 riders over April 2016.
Flint said SST is currently pursuing a plan that would allow buses to bypass traffic jams entering the downtown area.
The local bus service is in the process of applying for permission to have buses travel in the shoulder to bypass heavy traffic on U.S. 40 from Hilltop Parkway to Third Street.
"It is kind of a lengthy process,” Flint said of getting buses on the shoulders. "We've worked through the local city process and also the State Patrol. The next step is working with (the Colorado Department of Transportation) on this."
Flint said the next hurdle involves submitting a signage and striping plan. He's hoping buses might be able to start testing using the shoulders as soon as this year.