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A highway runs through it

Transportation Responsibility & YouLarry Heinrichs

Contention. That is a mild word that defines the current Glenwood Springs traffic situation. We have noise, congestion, stressed-out business owners on our main street, downvalley commuters seeking a faster route, residents wanting peace and quiet, and continued upvalley growth. To compound the competition for space, we also have a scenic tourist destination, a gold medal trout river and residents who live here to enjoy this beautiful place.At last count, there have been nine studies conducted, generally focusing on a Highway 82 relocation/bypass solution. Each study outlined several alternatives and offered recommendations for action. Proponents of the relocation of Highway 82 generally have been disappointed at the lack of action following each study.This year, City Council has funded a 10th study, called a “Corridor Optimization Assessment,” which is scheduled to start this month with an estimated delivery date of December. This study is designed to adhere to key parts of the Federal and Colorado Department of Transportation Corridor Optimization Guidelines, and as such, will be designed to alter the focus of the study from strictly a “silver bullet” bypass solution to a more balanced review of our transportation (as opposed to traffic) issues. The study will solicit “input from residents, businesses, the traveling public, environmental interests, community groups and other potentially affected stakeholders” (according to CDOT’s “Corridor Optimization Guidelines”). If the findings and recommendations are approved and accepted by the Federal Highway Administration, CDOT and local agencies and with public input, the study will be followed by a more formal environmental review called an Environmental Impact Statement, which was mandated by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).Our part as residents is to become involved in the process. You can become more informed and involved in several ways. The Corridor Optimization Assessment study will provide opportunity for public education about the issues, as well as soliciting input from local agencies and residents. In addition, the transportation commission will have two terms expiring in February, so here is your chance to be a part of the solution. More information about the vacancies can be found at http://www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us/temp/ join.htm. Meanwhile, take the time to drop us a line and let us know what you think. There is a transportation commission roster on the city’s Web site that lists the commissioners, with e-mail addresses. Just go to Boards and Commissions on the city Web site at http://www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us, and then go to the transportation commission link.Larry Heinrichs is the transportation commission chairman for Glenwood Springs.


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