New access coming to Emerald Park to eliminate traffic on Pamela Lane | SteamboatToday.com

New access coming to Emerald Park to eliminate traffic on Pamela Lane

A drawing shows what the new Emerald Park access will look like.

A more-than 17-year-old quest to build a less troublesome access into Emerald Park is finally starting to become a reality.

The city of Steamboat Springs this month is seeking construction bids for the new park access near the Hampton Inn.

The new access will spare homeowners on Pamela Lane from the constant stream of traffic they've seen in some summer months when residents drop children off at ball games or visit Yampa River Botanic Park.

"It's a big milestone to be able to get this project out to bid and to break ground this summer or fall," City Engineer Ben Beall said. "Our goal is to have it open by the end of next year; with optimism, we might be able to have it open for next summer."

The $2.36 million project will create an improved roadway behind Freshies and the Hampton Inn and over a new railroad crossing south of the hotel.

The current railroad crossing at Trafalgar Lane will be closed to vehicles, effectively sealing off Pamela Lane from vehicular traffic headed to the park.

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A new road called Emerald Trail will allow for left turns into the park from U.S. Highway 40 and right turns out of the park back onto the highway.

No new stoplight will be created as a result of the new access.

Drivers who want to turn left after exiting the park will go back to the light at Trafalgar Lane via the improved roadway.

The project plans also call for an improved parking lot at the park.

The current access to the park has caused headaches for many.

Pamela Lane residents resorted to putting up a long series of speed bumps on their street to slow traffic, and organizers of the Triple Crown baseball tournaments unsuccessfully lobbied the city to allow more games on the park’s fields while access was still an issue.

Building a new access outside a residential area has been years in the making.

City officials have said tedious and lengthy negotiations with Union Pacific Railroad about a new crossing have stalled the project.

The project saw a breakthrough in 2015, when Union Pacific told the city it would not oppose its application for a new crossing.

The city then had to secure a quiet zone, where trains would not sound their horns near the new crossing because of its proximity to the Hampton Inn.

Beall said the completion of the access project still depends on how quickly Union Pacific can get its own construction crews to Steamboat to install the new crossing platforms and signals.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10