During the small, socially distanced ceremony, officials highlighted the collaboration between state and local government as essential for the successful project. Speakers and attendees included: Shoshana Lew, CDOT Executive Director; Kathy Chandler-Henry, Eagle County Commissioner; Beth Reilly, Edwards Board President; Kerry Donovan, State Senator; Jill Hunsaker Ryan, CDPHE Executive Director; and Dennis Key, Kraemer North America. Attendees also thanked the Federal Highway Administration for being an important project partner.
The benefits of the project include capacity, safety, and multi-modal mobility.“We were pleased to join with so many of our partners to commemorate the completion of this project, which reflects years of hard work and strong local support," Lew said. "This project includes important safety features to improve access to I-70, as well as access for pedestrians and bicyclists both to recreate and to access downtown and local businesses through active transportation.”
A key feature of the project is the conversion of the intersection of US 6 and Edwards Spur Road from a signal to a roundabout, which was completed ahead of schedule and prior to the start of the 2019-20 school year. The conversion from a signalized intersection to a roundabout will reduce the potential for vehicular crashes as well as significantly reduce travel times during previously congested hours.
“Roundabouts have been proven safer and more efficient than traditional intersections,” Donovan said, “and help reduce the number of serious crashes.” While building the roundabout, crews maintained vehicle and pedestrian movements and business access.
Project improvements also include widening and adding a lane in each direction along Edwards Spur Road, trail system improvements (including pedestrian bridges), and transit stop improvements. “Being able to safely travel through this busy section of Edwards is important for the health of our residents and visitors,” Hunsaker Ryan said. “Increased safety means travelers are less likely to be in an accident, and they’re more easily able to get to doctor’s appointments, recreate outside, and experience other direct benefits of these transportation improvements.”
The $21.3-million project began in 2019 and finished on schedule and on budget, with funding coming from CDOT - FASTER funds, Regional Prioritization Program (RPP) Funds, and 36 percent Local Agency funding (Eagle County/Edwards Metro District funding).
“This project meets Eagle County’s strategic vision in several aspects,” Chandler-Henry said. “It encourages wellness by providing safe transportation for our residents. It supports sustainability by providing and improving the health of the Eagle River by removing a bridge pier from the river, and it supports our commitment to recreation by connecting the trail system from the north to the south along the Access Road.”
The new Eagle River bridge's single-span design eliminates the need for piers in the water, improving the long-term health of the Eagle River. Each of the eight structural concrete girders for the Eagle River Bridge that were set in place weigh nearly 150,000 pounds and stretch more than half a football field in length. Work took place during two construction seasons, spanning 2019-20.
“This project enhances our community,” Reilly said. “It supports our vibrant business and community offerings through an improved and safer transportation system.”
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Extensive utility work was also completed, including a half mile of new water main with seven separate waterline connections.
“The project team would like to thank the entire Edwards community for their patience and attentiveness to changing traffic patterns and work zone configurations,” said Matt Figgs, CDOT Project Engineer. “We’ve been humbled by the community support and know this project is a testament to the great collaboration between CDOT, Eagle County, and the Edwards Metro District, as well as the general contractor Kraemer and the numerous subcontractors.”
Across CDOT, the general contractor Kraemer North America, and numerous subcontractors, the project employed more than 300 workers across various trades. More than 15,000 hours were dedicated to traffic control activities to maintain vehicle and pedestrian movements and business access while protecting workers and the public.