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Fudd

I was parked in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-70, nearly a mile away from Glenwood’s main exit Monday morning, when visions of a bypass started dancing in my head.

Based on the principle that Glenwood residents may never find an agreeable solution to this problem and that commuters from Parachute to Aspen need something to dream about while waiting in traffic, may I propose “Operation Sidewinder.” No, I’m not talking about going house to house to remove your guns and then snaking a highway on stilts down the railway corridor and using your gas money to pay for it, that would be too obvious. I’m talking about a scenic superhighway from Rifle to Carbondale via the south side of Ski Sunlight.

Operation Sidewinder would start in Rifle near the Super Wal-Mart and quickly climb past the Garfield County Airport. From there it would head southeast across the industrial gas wastelands formerly known as the good farm country of Hunter Mesa. Quickly it would plunge headlong across Mamm Creek, Dry Hollow and into East Divide Creek where it would climb up the valley, around the south side of Bald Mountain and into Four Mile Park. After a short climb up the Beaver Creek drainage, it would begin the long descent across Freeman Creek and Edgerton Creek into Carbondale without nary a stoplight to contend with.



In fitting with the ironic nature of my proposition, we should call it the “Freeman Highway” and tax people extra to use it. We could sell “Freeman” bumperstickers to support the idea and call anyone who doesn’t support it unpatriotic.

But how, you ask, will we pay to build this 33-mile portion of primo pavement? The simple answer is, tax cuts for the rich. I’m not sure how that works, but whenever the big happy club in Washington promises tax cuts for the rich, people from all over the country send them money and they get to pass almost any legislation they want. It often seems to work the same way in Colorado. The most exalted industrialists in the state would probably agree.



Gas industry executives would probably sprint to the bank for the chance to speed up extraction opportunities on the west end of the proposed route. The timber industry would lick its chops over the meaty middle portion. Half the construction industry in the valley would have work for years just building the road. Carbondale skiers would probably love to have an easy access route to Ski Sunlight and that would go double for Silt and Rifle residents. Recreational opportunities could be expanded in the Four Mile Park area. A realty feeding frenzy along the proposed route would probably ensue. The county airport would benefit.

In the end, Glenwood would get its coveted bypass and the communities on both ends of our valley would profit as well, not only in terms of the alternative route, but in jobs created as a result.

So who suffers?

Anyone and anything who is accustomed to peace and quiet along the proposed highway. No one likes to find out they’ve moved into a sacrifice zone, and even less people like it when a columnist suggests building a highway through their backyard. (I preapologize for that.)

Unfortunately, thoughts like this pop into a columnists head when he’s sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on a Monday morning trying to repress a long overdue bowel movement.

Operation Sidewinder should not be taken seriously unless you think Glenwood Springs is incapable of solving the bypass problem on its own. But, if you believe residents of the area will never stoop to a mass transit solution or overcome NIMBYism, then the Freeman Highway may be for you. After all, the majority of voters will recognize that Operation Sidewinder goes through someone elses backyard.

Flexuously,

Bernie

Silt resident Bernie Boettcher’s column slithers through the Post Independent every other Thursday. E-mail morefudd@yahoo.com.


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