Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Slight Change in Breckenridge Gondola

Vail Resorts will have to add another tower in the Cucumber Gulch area for the Breckenridge Gondola, but the new design shouldn't delay completion of the project, anticipated for sometime around the beginning of 2007, according resort spokesperson Nicky DeFord.

"It has to do with the road clearance," DeFord said, referring to where the gondola will cross over a realigned County Road 3. The Colorado Tramway Safety Board stipulates a certain distance between the gondola and any road crossings, and the additional tower is needed to ensure that clearance, DeFord added.

"It made sense to put the tower in now," she said, explaining that the work will be done in an area that is already heavily disturbed by construction in the area. The base of the tower will be in the berm of a new detention pond adjacent to the road, she said.

The changes to the plan require a review by the Breckenridge planning commission and approval by the town council. The planning commission will review the issue June 18 and it could go to the town council June 25, according to town manager Tim Gagen.

"I see it as (Vail Resorts) following the proper process," Gagen said, explaining that the review will determine whether the changes fall within the parameters of an existing variance to the Cucumber Gulch Protective Management Area (PMA), or whether an amendment to the PMA variance is needed. The town adopted a strict management overlay for Cucumber Gulch to protect the area's natural resource values, including outstanding alpine wetlands that provide important habitat for many plants and animals.

Gagen said the resort's preliminary plans for the gondola, the Peak 7 base area project and the road realignment didn't quite mesh, resulting in the need for the new tower.

"They found they were off by about two feet," Gagen said.

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