Work aims to enhance Glenwood Canyon cell coverage
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Construction for a communications site at the Hanging Lake Recreation Area began on July 29 and is scheduled to be completed by late 2013.
Canyon Summits LLC, has been working with the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado Department of Transportation for the past six years to provide wireless communication facilities at the four rest areas within the canyon. Specifically, a new telecommunications infrastructure system will be constructed along I-70 in Glenwood Canyon and is designed to accommodate multiple wireless carriers and enhance emergency services communications. The project will also enable CDOT to enhance its own communications systems with space in the telecommunications buildings at each of the canyon’s four rest areas.
The facilities are designed to accommodate up to five separate communication providers.
The plans developed by Canyon Summits LLC seek to strike a balance between wireless coverage and protection of the aesthetic beauty of the canyon. The overall plan is to build a multifunctional communication shelter building at each of the four rest areas along the Glenwood Canyon Corridor. The shelters have been designed to harmonize with the overall character and ambiance of the rest areas. In addition, Canyon Summits LLC has agreed to replace several structures and maintenance spaces that are not compatible with the existing rest area design.
Custom “stealth designed mono-pine” sites (designed to look like deciduous trees) will be constructed adjacent to the shelters. Additional repeater locations are proposed to boost signals where coverage is deemed inadequate.
Hudspeth & Associates, Inc. of Rifle was selected by Canyon Summit to construct and build the communication site at Hanging Lake Rest Area (on forest property), as well as at CDOT rest areas at No Name, Grizzly Creek and Bair Ranch.
Throughout the duration of work, the public can expect fewer parking spaces as construction trailers and equipment occupy those areas. As mobilization ramps up, there may be even fewer parking spaces from 7-10 a.m. to accommodate the unloading of delivery trucks. Some work at the other three canyon rest areas will be under way concurrently, resulting in minor impacts to parking spaces.
Well over 1,000,000 visitors and motorists travel through Glenwood Canyon annually, and the Hanging Lake Trail is one of the most popular recreation attractions along the I-70 corridor. Over 130,000 visitors hike the trail annually, mostly during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The parking lot fills up on most summer days. Parking on the entrance or exit ramps of I-70 is prohibited and illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. Visitors are asked to observe all posted signs and closures.
To avoid parking problems and crowding on the trail, visitors are asked to plan their trips to Hanging Lake during quieter times such as weekdays before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., or during the spring or fall. Hiking the trail in winter is not recommended because of icy conditions. Hanging Lake can also be accessed by parking elsewhere and walking or riding a bike along the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path. Recommended alternatives for parking include: Glenwood Springs, No Name Rest Area, Bair Ranch Rest Area and Siloam Springs Trailhead at the east end of the Canyon.
Parking is not recommended at Grizzly Creek Rest Area or the Shoshone Power Plant exit due to crowding and limited parking at those locations during rafting season. More information is available at http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/state-highway-rest-areas.
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Over 75,000 hikers visited Hanging Lake during this year’s peak season. Via signage, the city hopes to point more of those hikers also in the direction of downtown Glenwood Springs.