Roundabout snafu delays good project | PostIndependent.com
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Roundabout snafu delays good project

Several hands need slapping in the wake of last week’s impasse over construction of the Midland-Four Mile roundabout.

The roundabout project was initially planned for 2002, but issues arose between the city of Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork School District, and then the bids came in uncomfortably higher than the engineer’s estimate. So the project was put off until 2003, with the assumption that all would be in place for an early June start.

Assumptions, as we all have learned, can be dangerous things.



In this case, city officials assumed that because they made good progress last year on the Sopris ballfields, the school district would have no problem with the roundabout’s encroachment on Sopris Elementary School land.

The city did not get a signed easement from the school district, but sent a contractor to the site to take down fences, remove trees and bulldoze the construction area.



One slap for the city.

Citing the absence of a signed easement, the school district called a halt to the project, and then raised the added issue of drainage from Four Mile Road onto school property.

Drainage is already under study by Garfield County, and the issue should be considered in the roundabout design. It’s a valid concern for the school district, since Sopris Elementary is on the downhill end of the flow.

But waiting until construction started to bring up the issue was counter-productive.

One slap for the school district.

Exceedingly frustrated, and with a signed contract in hand for $429,000, city staff suggested abandoning the roundabout idea in favor of a T intersection. Luckily, City Council didn’t let this short-term snafu force a long-term mistake.

Traffic through the intersection has not reached critical levels, and a roundabout really does make the most sense for this location. Wisely, council decided to put the roundabout off for a year, and put the road contractor to work on next-in-priority projects.

One pat on the back for City Council.

Now, there’s 10 months before school lets out in June, 2004, when construction on the roundabout should start. That should be enough time for officials within the city, the school district and the county to work out a sensible plan for drainage and easements.


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