Silverthorne sees neighborhood connections as a way to ease out-of-town traffic congestion

Vehicles line up to turn left on the Interstate 70 on-ramp westbound Tuesday, Aug. 10 in Silverthorne. City leaders discussed potential options that could ease some of the traffic in the city and could connect neighborhoods for easier pedestrian access.
Nicole Miller / Summit Daily News Archive

Silverthorne leaders met on Wednesday to discuss potential plans to ease congestion in the city.

Over the past several years, public works employees and consultants have developed the Transportation Master Plan, which outlines potential road projects the city could pursue as well as traffic analyses. He said the proposed projects don’t necessarily completely solve the traffic, but are a guide on how to better manage it.

“There you go, that says we’re going to get a lot of traffic,” Daugherty said. “A lot of the traffic, though, that we’re going to get is traffic outside of our jurisdiction. This does not happen and does not stop in our jurisdiction. It comes from outside or even from our jurisdiction. This analysis tells us that we are going to have traffic problems. The only thing it tells us is that if you try to reduce densities and so on, to tackle this issue, it won’t have a big impact on traffic.

Deputy Town Manager Mark Leidal said neighborhood-to-neighborhood connections in Silverthorne are something the city council focused on during its last council retreat. The first priority is variable message signs, that is, signs that can be changed remotely and synchronized with state-controlled signals. The second priority is the divergent diamond interchange from exit 205.

Other top priorities include extending Adams Avenue north to Willowbrook Road to increase pedestrian and cycling connections, and plans to eventually add a traffic light at Ruby Ranch Road so pedestrians can connect to the Blue River. Council members noted that a potential solution could be to remove the red light at Annie Road near Target and add one at Ruby Ranch Road, as not many people actually use the left turn light to get to at Target. This project is expected to have a partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“Certainly the transportation plan is not just for cars, but for pedestrians and bicycles and whatever else we can think of,” Leidal said. “I think that’s a key thing to keep in mind.”

Leidal also noted that if the city had a grocery store on Smith Ranch Road, it would save people from crossing the interchange and reduce traffic issues. He said there were other projects the city could consider to improve traffic flow, but he said those would be addressed over time.

Some projects will need to be cooperative with CDOT, which operates Interstate 70 and Colorado Highway 9. Daugherty said the master plan was sent to CDOT and city leaders often refer to it in conversations with the department. .

Daugherty added that developing a regional transportation plan involving neighboring municipalities would also benefit the city and other communities on the I-70 corridor through the mountains. He said larger plans like this could also attract grants from federal sources.

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