Highway 133 bottleneck to finally ease | PostIndependent.com

Highway 133 bottleneck to finally ease

The afternoon rush-hour bottleneck on Highway 133 should be loosened in the next few weeks, when an extra downvalley turn lane onto Highway 82 is finally constructed.

Bentley Henderson, Carbondale’s assistant town manager, said the added turn lane will allow 12 to 15 more cars to turn west onto Highway 82 from Highway 133 during each traffic light cycle.

“We expect the whole thing to be done by October 15,” Henderson said.

For the past two years, Carbondale residents and commuters have watched afternoon traffic on Highway 133 back up for more than a half mile south of the Highway 82 intersection. Henderson said that at times, traffic has reached to the Sopris Shopping Center at the intersection of Highway 133 and Main Street.

The stretch of Highway 133 between the Roaring Fork bridge and the Highway 82 intersection where the turn lane will be built is outside Carbondale’s town limits. Carbondale is paying for the $209,000 project itself, because the intersection improvements are not in the Colorado Department of Transportation’s long-range budget.

Motorists have been waiting for the improvements for more than a year. Carbondale budgeted $155,000 for the project in 2001, but delayed it when the only bid received last year came in at $300,000.

Carbondale-based Earthworks Construction made the only bid this year, and was awarded the contract in May.

The extra downvalley turn lane will be carved out of an existing island at the southeast part of the Highway 82 intersection.

Henderson said Earthworks Construction will control traffic during the project, and will alleviate impacts to motorists by stopping construction during rush hours.

Although the extra turn lane will help get downvalley-bound motorists out of Carbondale faster each afternoon in the short term, a longer-term solution is still millions of dollars away.

Earlier in the year, Henderson estimated it will cost $23 million to completely rebuild the intersection at Highway 82 and Highway 133, plus another $13 million to four-lane Highway 133 all the way through town. Henderson has said those funds also are not in CDOT’s current long-term budget.

Carbondale has been discussing how to raise funds to upgrade Highway 133 for more than a year, but no decisions have been made.

Traffic counts on Highway 133 from Main Street to Highway 82 have increased from 3,500 vehicle trips per day in the early 1990s to 19,000 per day this year, according to town officials.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User