Busy highway to be moved away from Dillon Reservoir
Some community discussion on this project at this Facebook post.
FRISCO — With Vail Resorts, Breckenridge and Summit County pledging more than $1 million combined toward Highway 9 upgrades, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be able to move ahead with widening the busy highway in the Iron Springs section, between Farmers Korner and Frisco.
CDOT had tabbed the four-laning of the highway as a high priority project that qualifies for accelerated construction and funding as long as there is a 20 percent match from local public and private partners. With that money now on the table, CDOT will be able to put the project up for bid this fall, with construction slated for 2016 and and 2017.
The planned realignment will eliminate “Leslie’s Curve,” a tight turn where there have been many traffic wrecks over the years. CDOT will widen Highway 9 from two to four lanes and move it away from the edge of Dillon Reservoir, close to the current alignment of the Iron Springs Recpath.
Wetlands restoration will take place along the reservoir, and the Recpath will be moved closer to the current Highway 9 alignment. The project will include wildlife crossings to reduce habitat fragmentation, as well as some offsite wildlife habitat restoration. Rec path users will be routed under the highway through a couple of tunnels.
“This is one of the last remaining stretches of the Highway 9 corridor that features only one lane in each direction, and traffic can be awful there during weekends and holidays, particularly in snowy weather,” Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said. “Without this additional local match, the opportunity to pursue these improvements could have been pushed out decades into the future, and we would have missed the boat on a $17 million investment of state money into our transportation infrastructure.”
The Iron Springs project is a critical component of CDOT’s larger, multiphase plan to improve safety, ease traffic congestion and enhance public transit movement along the Highway 9 corridor between Breckenridge and Frisco. The Iron Springs section of the highway runs from Farmer’s Korner to the intersection with Peak One Drive and Recreation Way in Frisco.
In 2013, Summit County and the Town of Frisco entered into an agreement with CDOT to provide a 25 percent local match toward the project, which was estimated to cost $17.5 million at the time.
Because of increasing construction costs statewide, and the requirement for several wildlife habitat protection measures, CDOT recently increased its estimate to $22.6 million. In order for the project to proceed, CDOT required that local partners contribute an additional 20 percent match – or $1,012,000 – toward the cost increase.
- Town of Breckenridge: $337,000 in direct funding
- Vail Resorts: $337,000 in direct funding
- Town of Frisco: Land donations valued at $360,000 and parking and recreational pathway maintenance valued at $90,000
- Summit County: Land donations valued at $1.9 million, Vail Pass Recpath maintenance valued at $890,000, $1.1 million in in-kind donations and $337,000 in direct funding.