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March 20, 2013
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Garfield County commissioners say Highway 82 access plan needs more work

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A State Highway 82 Access Control Plan may be premature, given the moving parts around various transportation planning projects involving the city of Glenwood Springs, Garfield County commissioners said this week.

"I think you're about a year away with this," Commissioner John Martin said during a Monday presentation of the latest revisions to the draft access plan by Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and city engineering officials.

"It's a good beginning, but there are a lot of issues still to work out with the city," he said.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky added that he would be reluctant at this point to sign the necessary inter-governmental agreement with the city and CDOT to put the 20-year access master plan in place.

But he said he would defer to whatever Glenwood Springs City Council determines in the coming weeks.

Council continues its public hearing on the access plan at its regular meeting on Thursday. Council is expected to decide whether to adopt the plan on April 11.

Dan Roussin, who is in charge of access permitting for CDOT, reiterated Monday that the access plan is a long-term "blueprint" to identify where existing accesses could be closed, altered or consolidated in the future as redevelopment occurs.

Access changes, such as eliminating or relocating signalized intersections and designating some access points as right-in, right-out only, would only occur with significant redevelopment of the affected areas, major public infrastructure projects, or in response to safety concerns.

"This is a blueprint to help us make decisions when those changes happen," he said. "It's an attempt to make good planning decisions."

Much of the discussion with county commissioners included areas within city limits, including a controversial recommendation to eliminate the traffic signal and pedestrian crossing at Eighth Street if the proposed new Grand Avenue bridge is built.

But commissioners were mostly concerned with the areas in the access plan that lie south of city limits, including the Red Canyon area.

The proposed access plan suggests removing the traffic signal at County Road 154 near Red Canyon, but only if the joint city/county South Bridge connection is ultimately built.

A preferred routing alternative that's currently being evaluated as part of a formal environmental assessment would include a bridge across the Roaring Fork River south of the Glenwood municipal airport. The new route would connect with Highway 82 at a new signalized intersection just south of the Holy Cross Energy facility.

County commissioners noted that safety concerns already exist in that area, given the amount of vehicle traffic generated by Holy Cross service vehicles and across the highway in the Red Canyon commercial area.

Something may be needed to be done to improve highway access in that vicinity before South Bridge is ever built, Jankovsky said.

"I think we need to see some more work done to the plan for that area," he said.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 20, 2013 01:17AM Published Mar 20, 2013 01:16AM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.