Detour nearly seamless after I-70 wait |

Detour nearly seamless after I-70 wait

Traffic on Midland Avenue moves slowly but surely during the first morning of the Grand Avenue bridge detour. Drivers experienced up to two-hour delays driving through South Canyon on their morning commute.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Unable to fall asleep Sunday night due to the anxiety of Monday morning’s commute to work from Parachute to Glenwood Springs, I got up and was ready to leave the house at 5 a.m. Dropping my fiancee Karlie off at the RFTA bus stop in Parachute behind the gas station, I returned home to pack my bag, brew my coffee and prepare for Bridgemageddon.

As usual, the beginning of the commute was very smooth on Interstate 70, but things started to back up around New Castle before traffic came to a complete stop just past Exit 109 at Canyon Creek. No big deal, considering this was expected.

Things really slowed down to a crawl from Exit 109 to Exit 114. Safely in line in the right lane, I inched along at a slow pace, rarely getting over 5 miles per hour while watching other commuters race by in the left lane in hopes of diving into the exit lane farther down the road, or continuing on toward Eagle. Either way, there was a lot of traffic in the left lane, which seemed to back things up even more in the right lane.

I get it; go as far as you can in the left lane until you absolutely need to move over, but this detour is tough for everybody, and patience is needed. Things flow much easier if you condense quickly and move along as one. Plus, authorities say driving in the left lane in hopes of cutting in risks delaying an emergency vehicle and perhaps putting someone’s life at risk.

From Exit 109, I sat in traffic on the interstate for roughly an hour and a half, crawling along slowly but surely. The 90 minutes was actually less than I anticipated.

With no cell service in the canyon, having podcasts downloaded on my phone before the commute really came in handy. Listening to some of my favorite podcasts helped pass the time and helped keep me relaxed. While in South Canyon, I was able to grab some clips on my phone of the traffic. Although the clips are pretty uneventful, it was a smooth commute, even with an ambulance driving east on I-70. It was able to get through easily.

Approaching Exit 114, I was stopped in traffic for about three minutes before I was able to pass through the roundabout rather quickly before traveling up Midland Avenue with ease, not once stopping until I pulled into the Ninth and Cooper parking garage.

Police presence was significant once in town, with either a Garfield County sheriff or Glenwood Springs officer stationed at each stoplight to help make traffic flow much easier throughout town. On top of that, downtown Glenwood looked much like a ghost town at around 8:30 a.m. There were very few cars on Grand Avenue heading in either direction. That stunned me, but also gave me hope that people are taking this detour seriously and trying to reduce the number of cars in the area for the next three months.

Overall, the entire detour operated much more smoothly than I could have anticipated. I expected to see a few fits of road rage from other commuters and a few outbursts of frustration from myself, but neither of those occurred during Monday, which left me in a rather pleasant mood upon arriving at work.

Just remember: We’re a part of local history, and we should enjoy this. Things will be so much better with a new bridge into town. A little detour and some traffic isn’t much to deal with in the long run.

Josh Carney is the Post Independent’s sports editor.

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