27th street roundabout a ‘tight turn’ for full-size semi-trucks; other vehicles OK city officials say

Construction crews do traffic control at the new 27th Street roundabout on earlier this year.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The new 27th Street roundabout in Glenwood Springs is causing a bit of a stir. 

“We’ve heard some complaints via Facebook and from the council,” Terri Partch, Glenwood Springs city engineer, said. “There is a feeling I think out there that the design is too small.”

The 27th Street roundabout was built as part of the overall 27th Street Bridge Project, which the city is slated to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Wednesday

Partch was set to deliver a presentation to city council this past Thursday to explain the roundabout’s design and the challenges associated with any alternatives, but that meeting was canceled due to inclement weather.

Currently, WB-40 trucks – like those that handle most beer and food deliveries – can freely navigate the roundabout at 27th Street. 

However, while a WB-67 full-size semi-truck can maneuver certain directions, it cannot make east-bound or west-bound left turns in the new roundabout, Partch said. 

“It was always a problem,” Partch said of the previous intersection. “Today, it’s still a tight turn.”

Current restrictions ban some full-size semi-trucks from accessing Midland Avenue south of Eighth Street. 

Partch said city staff had worked extensively with businesses in the 27th Street area to ensure that all of their delivery trucks could still arrive.

According to Partch, the new 27th Street roundabout has an outer diameter of approximately 98 feet.

Comparatively, the outer diameter of the roundabout on the bridge’s west side – Midland and 27th Street – amounts to roughly 130 feet. 

Additionally, the Exit 114 Roundabout has an outer diameter that measures approximately 190 feet. 

The city would have had to potentially acquire property from neighboring businesses such as the ANB/Penrose Plaza and portions of Berthod Motors to facilitate a larger roundabout at 27th Street.

“There would’ve been pretty significant property impacts,” Partch said. “We would’ve probably had to take possession of the auto dealership and the bank.”

With the 27th Street Bridge serving as one of the few connections across the Roaring Fork River in Glenwood Springs there were initial concerns of whether or not large emergency vehicles, such as a ladder truck could get through.

However, Glenwood Springs Fire Chief Gary Tillotson confirmed that all of the department’s fire trucks could navigate the new 27th Street roundabout safely.

Partch’s presentation, which will have to wait for another city council meeting, was not to request council action but instead to provide information.

“(The roundabout) performing better every day,” Partch said. “I guess my advice would be to allow it to be in place for a while before we make any adjustments to it.”

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