Dream Island pedestrian crossing taking shape | CraigDailyPress.com

Dream Island pedestrian crossing taking shape

Tom Ross

Rosario Corral works on the new pedestrian median in the middle of U.S. Highway 40 where traffic enters the downtown corridor near Dream Island. The crossing will make it easier and safer for people to access bus stops on both sides of the road.

— The first three weeks of construction on U.S. Highway 40 at either end of downtown Steamboat Springs have produced some tedious delays but not much drama. But the concrete crew working on a little pour on the city's near west side Monday afternoon finally produced a little sizzle.

The crew built a pedestrian median that is intended to increase significantly the safety of passengers getting off westbound city buses on the north side of the highway at a point where it spans four lanes. The majority of the people emerging from the bus attempt to walk across traffic to reach homes and businesses in the Dream Island mobile home park.

"It's the first thing I'd say wasn't there before” construction began, said project manager Eric Marsh, of Connell Resources. "They just poured it today."

The concrete median itself isn't flashy, but three electronic signs that are soon to be installed will change that.

When passengers disembark from the bus and push the button on the crossing signal, Marsh said, they will activate three large, rectangular flashing signs designed to get the attention of drivers and let them know someone is entering a crosswalk.

The flashing signs have yet to be delivered, and road striping and some other, smaller signage still must be completed, Marsh said. And the new pedestrian median won't be ready for full use until the city of Steamboat Springs relocates the bus stop to line up with the median, he added.

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Also included in the larger project is an upgraded pedestrian crossing at the nearby stoplight where cars turn off the highway to go to the Stock Bridge Transit Center and the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Despite above-average precipitation thus far in August, Marsh said his crews have not fallen behind the timetable for the construction project. Thus far, the work has entailed modernizing intersections.

"I think we've got another three to four weeks of the big intersection, flashing signal (traffic) shutdowns like you saw at Anglers (Drive) today," Marsh said Monday. "After that, the impacts will get a lot less. It takes us a week to get through one of these intersections, but after that, the concrete impacts are pretty minimal because the trucks are (working) off the shoulders."

Marsh originally announced at a public meeting in mid-July that work in this phase of construction would take place from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays. But in spite of working intermittently during monsoon rain showers some days, his crews have been able to shut down earlier most evenings.

"We've been getting everybody off as close to 5 p.m. as possible and at 3:30 p.m. on Friday because we understand there are people trying to get in and out of town,” Marsh said. “I don't think we've been out there until 7 p.m. yet."

That said, Marsh expects to evaluate the possibility of working some weekend hours after Labor Day weekend. At some time after the holiday, crews are expected to begin working through the night to roto-mill and remove the existing asphalt paving on the highway at either end of downtown and do re-paving work.

"The weather hasn't affected us yet because of the type of work we are doing," Marsh said. "But I can't get that kind of (monsoon) weather when we begin to pave."

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1