The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) today released recommendations to improve safety and operations on West Vail Pass on Interstate 70. Virtual public engagement begins today and will continue through Oct. 21. CDOT welcomes input on all projects and feedback is encouraged during the virtual public engagement period.
The Proposed Action is a package of improvements including an eastbound and westbound auxiliary lane on I-70 on the west side of Vail Pass in Eagle County, from the East Vail exit (Mile Point 180) to the Vail Pass Rest Area (Mile Point 190). Other improvements include a widened inside shoulder, reconstruction of tight curves, wildlife underpasses and fencing, water quality improvements, truck ramp and parking enhancements, median glare screens and relocation of two miles of the recreation path that is currently next to I-70. The latest technology will be used to add variable speed limit and message signs and a way to close the pass immediately through a remote system when necessary.
A detailed description and evaluation of the Proposed Action has been documented in the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Section 4(f) Evaluation, which considers benefits, impacts, and proposed mitigation for numerous environmental and community resources. The EA and Section 4(f) Evaluation can be found on the project web page: www.bit.ly/WestVailPass.
Due to current limitations on public events during the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), CDOT will provide a virtual opportunity for public engagement. A video summarizing the study, findings, and next steps is available on the project web page and printed copies are available at the locations listed below. Community members are invited to view this at these materials at their convenience before submitting a comment. Public comments can be submitted any time during the 30-day public review period (Sept. 22 – Oct. 21).
Printed copies are available at the following locations:
Vail Public Library
292 W. Meadow Drive
Vail, CO 81657
Town of Vail Administration Office
75 S. Frontage Road
Vail, CO 8165
The report will be available for review and comment from today through Oct. 21. Public input will be considered by CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration prior to issuing a decision document to determine if the project can move forward as planned.
CDOT has obtained $140.4 M for construction of the first phase of improvements, which could begin in 2021. Funding includes a $60.7 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) gra awarded this summer by the U.S. Department of Transportation. If the project moves forward, CDOT will continue to pursue additional funding to complete the rest of the project.
To learn more about the project, join the mailing list, or submit comments, visit www.bit.ly/WestVailPass. Comments can also be provided via email firstname.lastname@example.org or the project hotline phone number: 970-331-0200, or by mail to CDOT, attn: John Kronholm, PO Box 298, Eagle, CO 81631-0298.