Work begins on traffic signal for I-70 exit |

Work begins on traffic signal for I-70 exit

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Work on a traffic signal to ease the eastbound commute into the Roaring Fork Valley was given the green light this week.The Colorado Department of Transportation began site work to install a signal at the bottom of the eastbound Interstate 70 off-ramp (exit 116) into Glenwood Springs. It will replace a stop sign.Motorists should see intermittent work through mid-September.Currently, the morning commute backs cars up onto the highway, causing safety concerns.”There’s a safety issue involved,” said Jim Nall, a CDOT region three traffic and safety engineer.CDOT believes the light would speed traffic through more efficiently than having every car stop.”When every car has to stop at the end of the ramp you have stop time and startup time,” Nall said. “Even that 2 to 5 seconds per car over the course of an hour adds up to a lot that we can get through there with some green times.”This week, crews began work to bore underneath the eastbound on-ramp, said Pete Mertes, CDOT resident engineer in Glenwood Springs. Conduits must be in place to wire the traffic signal.There are variables as with any construction, but the thought is that signal poles might arrive around the beginning of August. The signal could be complete around mid-September, Mertes said.A typical traffic signal might cost $140,000. This one will cost about $35,000 to $40,000, because the signal only needs one mast arm instead of four, Nall said.CDOT also had considered widening the eastbound off-ramp as part of a solution to the back-ups. That might not be in the cards after continued analysis of traffic studies.”I think we’re seeing that the light at the bottom of the ramp is really going to take care of the problem and it may not be necessary to do both,” Mertes said.Work to be completed after finishing the traffic signal includes creating double right turn lanes for the westbound I-70 on-ramp. This would improve traffic flow west out of Glenwood Springs, which creates northbound slowdowns on Grand Avenue. CDOT is also considering widening that on-ramp itself.CDOT also is working with a consultant to design possible dual right-turn lanes from Highway 6 onto the Grand Avenue Bridge.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611; pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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