Sunday, May 01, 2005

Summit County's Towns Chime in on the Widening of I-70

Interstate 70 from Denver to Vail has become so congested with traffic over the past 10 years, something has to be done. The question is what. The alternatives run the gamut: from a magnetically levitated monorail to boring more tunnels and making it a 6-lane highway.

Some of tha alternatives that have been proposed:

  • Six-lane highway between the Eisenhower Tunnel and Floyd Hill and through Down Canyon in Eagle County, with minimum travel speed of 55 mph. Cost $2.4 billion.

  • Six-lane highway, same as above, with the addition of tunnels to accommodate minimum speeds of 65 mph.

  • Dual Mode Bus in Guideway. Exclusive guideway for dual electric and diesel powered bus systems in the I-70 median eastbound from Silverthorne to the Eisenhower Tunnel and a bi-directional guideway from the tunnel to C-470 in Denver. Cost: $3.5 billion.

  • Six-lane highway and preserve space for future rail transit in the median. Cost: $2.8 billion.

The town of Silverthorne doesn't know which plan it supports as of yet. After a recent meeting of the town council, the only agreement was to try and reach an agreement at a future meeting.

Dillon is for six-laning.

Town Manager Jack Benson said, "part of the issue is (the council) felt the transit piece, and even the set aside for future transit, wasn't a practical alternative to the traveling culture."

Frisco has agreed to support several options. The no action and minimal action alternatives and the long-term solutions for 30-plus years will be advocated.

Breckenridge suports expanding I-70 to six lanes, while leaving room for some kind of mass transit down the road.

Concilmember J.B. Katz said, "We didn't want a mass transit plan to move forward first that could hurt the resorts in Summit county."

And the Summit County commissioners are still thinking about it all - they have not officially decided on what action they will support.

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