GAPP creates grind on I-70 | PostIndependent.com
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GAPP creates grind on I-70

Dennis Webb and Ryan Graff

State officials are looking for ways to keep Glenwood Springs’ Grand Avenue Paving Project, which just resumed, from turning into the Interstate 70 Parking Project.GAPP moved downtown Monday, restricting traffic to one lane and backing up rush-hour vehicles all the way onto the interstate at Exit 116.Glenwood Springs resident Marc Schuman said he was driving east from Glenwood on Tuesday and saw traffic backed up toward the No Name tunnels. He said he fears an accident will result around a blind corner or in the tunnels.”I think we’ve got better-than-even odds that someone’s gonna get hurt,” he said. “To use the right lane of the main route through Colorado as a parking lot – I don’t think so.”Tom Newland, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation’s GAPP project, said officials hope that lengthening the green light at Eighth Street for Grand Avenue motorists during rush hour can address the backup.”We’re on it, we’re going to try to alleviate it as best we can,” he said.If that doesn’t work, CDOT might have to go to a flashing light at the intersection and have someone directing traffic, he said. But he’s hopeful that the longer green lights work.”It’s one of those things where it starts out as a few cars and grows and grows and grows. We think what we can do is stop those few cars from getting backed up and it should be alleviated during those rush-hour times,” he said.City engineer Larry Thompson also likes the idea of lengthening the green light on Grand, at least during the morning rush-hour. The drawback is longer red lights on side streets. But that’s not as much of an issue in the morning, when fewer motorists wait to get onto Grand from side streets, he said. And during the evening rush hour, fewer cars back up onto I-70 because much of the Grand Avenue traffic consists of commuters coming from the south. Usually, Thompson said, it would be better to wait a few days to see if a problem related to a new construction project takes care of itself as motorists adjust their driving schedules and routes to avoid peak backup times. But backed-up traffic on I-70 is another matter.”That’s a safety issue that needs to get some immediate attention,” he said.Thompson agreed with Schuman that the sharp curve on I-70 at the Hot Springs Pool could be dangerous if cars are stopped in one of the lanes.”The sight distances are kind of short for that westbound traffic. If somebody’s not paying attention, they can find themselves facing stopped traffic, and it’s not a good situation,” he said.CDOT found at least one traffic-related GAPP problem easier to fix this week. Newland said crews originally created a glitch at the West Glenwood I-70 exit in terms of handling wide-load vehicles, which must wait in designated spots before being allowed to travel Grand Avenue during designated morning and evening times.”I guess we had the signs pointed the wrong way and were telling these wide loads to park in somebody’s private parking lot,” he said.Meanwhile, Newland was happy to report that work already is ahead of schedule on Grand. Crews could begin paving northbound Grand between 10th Street and the middle of Eighth Street as early as next Wednesday, days earlier than planned.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.comRyan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 520rgraff@postindependent.com


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