The latest crash of a semi-trailer truck on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon, shutting down the highway and nearly killing a number of motorists, once again illustrates the consequences of aggressive driving in contempt of the reduced (50 mph) speed limit through the canyon.
In the dozens of times I have driven through the canyon, I have attempted to stay close to the speed limit despite being routinely tailgated and passed at high speeds, often by trucks and supersized SUVs. I have never seen evidence of the Colorado Highway Patrol, Garfield County Sheriff, or the Glenwood Springs Police Department enforcing the traffic laws.
I would note the entrance to the eastbound lanes of I-70 from the east Glenwood interchange is a location where speed in excess of the 50 mph limit is especially hazardous because of the poor sight distance and short distance for vehicles entering the highway to accelerate and merge.
The issue of speed through the canyon and Glenwood Springs is not only one of safety, but also of vehicle noise. The equivalent, in today’s construction costs, of hundreds of millions of dollars was spent on minimizing the impact of the highway on the natural character of the canyon. The opportunity to enjoy its beauty is substantially diminished when driving 50 mph while being tailgated and passed at high speed, and also by the noise of traffic while walking, bicycling or fishing along the Colorado River.
While some traffic noise is unavoidable, most noise comes from the impact of tires on the pavement. The physics of this noise generation increases in proportion to the size of the tires and the roughness of the tire tread. These are essentially “givens.” More importantly, the noise increases with the square of the speed. A vehicle traveling 65 mph emits about 70 percent more noise than one traveling 50 mph. That noise generation is controllable by appropriate setting and enforcement of speed limits.
It is time all local law enforcement agencies started protecting both people’s safety and environmental amenities from lead-footed Neanderthals driving supersized vehicles on local highways.
Carl Ted Stude
professional engineer (retired)
Isn’t it appalling Glenwood has remained the highest average gas prices area in Colorado? I’ve noticed over the past years Glenwood was always about 20 cents per gallon higher than Grand Junction; but since the letter earlier this summer that complained about the price difference and was blaming Swallow Oil the price difference jumped to 50 cents per gallon and has remained that way.
I have been in a lot of different places lately that are way outside the I-70 corridor in Colorado, and am completely disgusted with the price of gas in our valley.
I read Mr. Swallow’s reply that it is not his fault, and his suppliers are the cause of the problem. If that is the case, why is virtually the rest of the state under $2 per gallon, and our valley so high? Maybe he needs to get different suppliers or we need some competition for Swallow Oil. Vail is even lower than us. I paid $1.69 in Montrose this week, and $1.67 the last time I was in Grand Junction.
Just because the economy hasn’t tanked in Garfield County yet, because of the current natural gas drilling, shouldn’t mean the local oil and gas suppliers should be sticking us with these high prices. Looks to me like they are just trying to suck out as much profit as they can before the local conservationists get the drilling shut down and our economy goes the way of the rest of the country.
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