North America's Premier International Resort Community

New I-70 Vail Underpass

  • 3 February 2016

To receive text or email alerts as traffic conditions change during the project, subscribe to CDOT’s notification service at https://service.govdelivery.com/accounts/CODOT/subscriber/new. For additional details, visit www.codot.gov/projects/i70vailunderpass, call the project hotline at 970-685-7706 or email i70vailunderpass@cig-pr.com.

CONSTRUCTION UPDATES
Construction of the I-70 Vail Underpass is scheduled to begin with preliminary work in late March 2016. Major construction activities start April 4, 2016, and will be complete by December of 2017.


Since the early 1980s the idea of an additional I-70 underpass to enhance community connectivity and enhance traffic flow between Main Vail and West Vail has been discussed. However it was not until 1993 that the idea went thru a public process as a part of the Vail Transportation Master Plan (VTMP). As a direct result of the VTMP the underpass was nicknamed the Simba Run Underpass due to its namesake location, the Simba Run Condominiums. From that point forward it became a common theme in numerous Vail Master Plans, including; the Vail Lionshead Master Plan (1999), the Vail 20/20 Strategic Vision Plan (2007), and the Vail Transportation Master Plan Update (2009), as well as being listed in the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) long range Statewide Improvement Plans since 1996 and a part of the CDOT I-70 PEIS ROD.

 

The project is now known as the I-70 Vail Underpass and recently received joint funding for Design and Construction from the The Town of Vail via the Vail Reinvestment Authority and CDOT via RAMP funds

Please email, Tom Kassmel at tkassmel@vailgov.com for any comments or feedback to this project.

      

 

 

PAST EVENTS
(Note: Video links are active for 3 months from the date of posting, for past archived videos please email tkassmel@vailgov.com)

September 17, 2015   The Town of Vail and the Colorado Department of Transportation will be hosting an open house next week to present the final design of the I-70 Vail Underpass and the upcoming construction schedule. The meeting will be held from 4 to 6pm Thursday, Sept. 17 at the Grand View on the third level of the Lionshead Welcome Center.

June 18, 2015   Colorado Transportation Commission Meeting: Request for additional funding to proceed with Project Construction. The Colorado Transportation Commission approved an additional $6.57M for the I-70 Vail Underpass Project. This along with the  $2.73M additional funding approved by the Vail Town Council in May makes the project fully funded

May 5, 2015 TOWN COUNCIL:Town Council granted the additional funding necessary to maintain the 29% project match funding for construction of the underpass; next step will be to request the same of CDOT through the Colorado Transportation Commission. Memo, Presentation. Link to Town Council Video (Start at minute 97:15 and finish at minute 167:15)

March 18, 2015 Design Review Board: The design team presented the landscape plan for final DRB approval. Approved DRB Landscape Plan

March 17, 2015 TOWN COUNCIL:  The design team presented the proposed headlight mitigation and discussed the evening site vist to the residence on the south side of Gore Creek.  Memo, Presentation. Link to Town Council Video (Start at minute 60:00 and finish at minute 90:00)

March 3, 2015 TOWN COUNCIL: The design team presented the updated landscape plan that will also be presented to DRB on March 4.  Memo, Landscape Plan Presentation  Link to Town Council Video (Start at minute 92:30 and finish at minute 126:30)

February 17, 2015 TOWN COUNCIL:  The design team presented the preliminary conceptual landscape plan and process.(Memo & Landscape Concept Presentation) Link to Town Council Video (Start at minute 01:15 and finish at minute 47:15)

February 2, 2015 Noise Wall Preference Survey Results:  A noise wall preference survey of Benefiting Receptors was taken between January 9th and January 30th.  Approximately 59% of the responding surveys were not in support of the noise wall, therefore the I-70 Vail Underpass project will not include a noise wall. Press Release

January 20, 2015 TOWN COUNCIL:  Council discussed and responded to the 69 surveys that they were allocated with regards to the potential Noise Wall.  Council responded with a total of 50 surveys against the noise wall and 19 in favor of the noise wall. See Press Release for additional information. (Memo & Presentation) Link to Town Council Video (Start at minute 148:00 and finish at minute 214:00)

January 6, 2015 TOWN COUNCIL:  Council discussed the noise wall for the project and the survey process.  It was determined that the noise wall survey would be specific to a noise wall only, and that the decision on aesthetics and whether or not the noise wall would be acrylic or concrete would be decided after the survey if it was determined that a noise wall was supported.  It was also determined that the Council would discuss and finalize their survey preference at the January 20, 2015 Council meeting. (Memo#1-Acrylic Noise Wall, Presentation#1-Acrylic Noise Wall), (Memo#2-Council Voting, Presentation#2-Council Voting).  Link to Town Council Video (Start at minute 77:00 and finish at minute 192:25).

December 18, 2014 OPEN HOUSE:  A public open house was held at the Grand View in Lionshead to present to the public the progress of the project.  The design team was available to answer questions and present the 3D Rendering, Audio Demonstration, Construction Phasing options, and provide information on the potential noise wall and the noise wall survey process. Open House Presentation Boards

December 16, 2014 AUDIO NOISE DEMONSTRATION:  This sound clip represents the relative difference between traffic volumes with no reduction and traffic volumes with 5 and 7 decibels of reduction.  The sound clip plays four 10 second repeated traffic noise clips in the following manner; Traffic noise with no reduction (10s), Traffic noise with 5 decibel reduction (10s), Traffic noise with no reduction repeated (10s), Traffic noise with 7 decibel reduction (10s).  The intent is to provide the listener with an understanding of what a 5 and 7 decibel reduction in noise is relative to no reduction.  Traffic Noise Sound Clip

December 16, 2014 TOWN COUNCIL:  The Design Team presented an update on the design progress, an update of the revised construction costs estimate, and reviewed the potentail noise wall and noise wall survey process.  A digital 3D rendering of the project along with an audio demonstration were also presented to provide a visual overview of the project and provide an audio demonstration on potential noise reduction if a noise wall is supported for this project. (Memo, Presentation, Noise Process) Link to Town Council Work Session Video (Start at minute 128:00 and finish at minute 222:00). Link to Town Council Evening Session Video (Start at minute 18:00 and finish at minute 81:00).

November 20, 2014 NOISE ASSESSMENT:  The I-70 Vail Underpass Traffic Noise Impact and Abatement Assessment is now available.  Noise Impact Summary & Noise Impact Complete Report

November 4, 2014 TOWN COUNCIL: The Design Team presented an update on the design process as well as initiated discussions regarding the projects Noise Assessment and the possible noise abatement including location, height, length and types of Noise Walls.  The design team will continue moving forward with the projects design and noise assessment process, as well as preparing for an upcoming Open House on December 18th.  Memo & Presentation. Link to Town Council Video (Start at minute 52:15 and finishes at minute 154:00)

August 19, 2014 TOWN COUNCIL: Staff presented additional information regarding the reasoning for the design shift to the west of the South Rounabout as previously discussed on July 15.  After discussions, Council  supported the design shift, with the understanding that the design team will continue to explore visual and aesthetic mitigation opportunities for those properties adjacent to the project.  Council also directed the staff to work with CDOT and FHWA to request signage to restrict large trucks from using the new underpass.  Memo ; Attachments. Link to Town Council Video (Start at Minute 48:00 and Finishes at Mintute 136:00)

July 15, 2014 TOWN COUNCIL: Staff presented an update of the preliminary design status and highlighted the changes that have occured thus far.  After discussions, Council generally supported the design status, with the understanding that the design team will continue to explore visual and aesthetic mitigation opportunities for those properties adjacent to the project. Memo & Presentation . Link to Town Council Video (Start at Minute 15:45 and Finishes at Mintute 37:15)

May 6, 2014 TOWN COUNCIL: Staff and the design team presented four traffic intersection configurations, including T-Intersections, Single Lane Roundabouts, and Compact Single Lane Roundabouts. After discussions, Council endorsed a configuration with a Compact Roundabout on the north side and a Single Lane Roundabout on the south side of the proposed underpass. Memo, Presentation, LOS Diagrams, Traffic Distibution Memo . Link to Town Council Video (Start at Minute 118:10 and Finishes at Minute 157:00)

APRIL 1, 2014 TOWN COUNCIL:  Staff and the design team presented the traffic analysis for the project with regards to the operations and impacts of T-Intersections vs. Roundabouts.  After discussions, Council requested that the design team look at a few intersection options with a lower traffic operational standard, one that would be consistent with CDOT's operational requirements.  A follow up Council session will be scheduled to look at the requested conditions.  Memo, Attachments, Presentation .  Link to Town Council Video (Start at Minute 5:45 and Finishes at Minute 149:00)

MARCH 20, 2014 PLT#4: PLT meeting was focused on a review and update of the project status, and on next steps with regards to the process for reviewing the traffic analysis and presenting it to the public.

MARCH 11, 2014 COMMUNITY MEETING: A townwide community meeting was held to provide the community with an update on the state of the Town and major projects underway.  The I-70 Vail Underpass project was presented and staff was on hand to take feedback and answer questions. Community Meeting

MARCH 4, 2014 TOWN COUNCIL: Council endorsed the preferred location to move forward in the design process. CDOT provided an overview on both the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process and the property acquisistion process via the Uniform Act.  Council and Public input was solicited and received. Presentation & Memo, NEPA & Uniform Act.  Link to Town Council Video (Start at Minute 37:40 and Finishes at Minute 132:10)

FEB. 18, 2014 TOWN COUNCIL: A project update was provided to the Town Coucil, reviewing three Locations based on input received at the last Council meeting.  Council and Public input was solicited and received.  Presentation & Staff Memo. Link to Town Council Video (Start at Minute 12:00 and Finishes at Minute 86:30)

JAN. 22, 2014 PLT#3: PLT meeting focused on a review of the Federal NEPA process, a review of the Draft Stakeholders Involvment Plan, and a review of the public comments received so far thru the process.

JAN. 21, 2014 TOWN COUNCIL: A project update was provided to the Town Council.  Public input was solicited, and the Council generally agreed with the recommended concept location.  The preferred location will be refined over the next several months and specific impacts and mitigation will be identified. Town Council Update Presentation. Link to Town Council Video

Dec. 17, 2013 OPEN HOUSE: CDOT and the Town of Vail held a second Informational Open House for the project on December 17th. If you missed it you may review the presentation boards by clicking on the link below. Open House Presentation Boards

Dec. 11, 2013 PLT#2: PLT meeting focused on a review of the Draft Location Verification Report evaluation and the Public Outreach process.

Nov. 20, 2013 PLT#1: Project Leadership Team (PLT) was formed, meeting focused on project history, Context Sensative Solutions process, the project's Context statement, and the projects Criteria for Success.

Oct. 18, 2013  RAMP Funding: Town of Vail recieves $14.6 million in funding from CDOT along with the Town of Vail matching funding of $6.2 million for a total project funding of $20.8 million. Press Release

Aug 26, 2013 PEC: Staff presented a review of the Vail Transportation Master Plan along with an introduction to Project on August 26th. PEC Presentation

Aug 5, 2013 OPEN HOUSE: CDOT and the Town of Vail held an Informational Open House for the project on August 5th.  If you missed it you may review the presentation boards by clicking on the link below. Open House Presentation Boards

NOISE WALL INFORMATION
Noise Impact Summary
& Noise Impact Complete Report

Noise Receptors Comparison Table

Benefiting Receptors

Audio Noise Demonstration:  This sound clip represents the relative difference between traffic volumes with no reduction and traffic volumes with 5 and 7 decibels of reduction.  The sound clip plays four 10 second repeated traffic noise clips in the following manner; Traffic noise with no reduction (10s), Traffic noise with 5 decibel reduction (10s), Traffic noise with no reduction repeated (10s), Traffic noise with 7 decibel reduction (10s).  The intent is to provide the listener with an understanding of what a 5 and 7 decibel reduction in noise is relative to no reduction.  Traffic Noise Sound Clip

PROJECT SCHEDULE

  • Location Verification for I-70 Underpass         Nov.    2013 – May  2014
  • Preliminary Design                                      June   2014 – Sept.  2014
  • NEPA Environmental Clearance                      June   2014 – March 2015
  • Final Design                                               Nov.   2014 – April   2015.
  • ROW Acquisition                                         April   2015 -  Feb.   2016
  • Construction                                              April    2016 – Dec.   2017

PROJECT BACKGROUND(Additional) 

The Town of Vail underwent a period of unprecedented development and redevelopment between 2004 and 2009.  The development trend prompted the reevaluation and update of the Town’s Transportation Masterplan.  The Vail Transportation Masterplan (VTMP) focuses on Vail’s existing transportation system and how anticipated future growth will impact Vail’s transportation infrastructure.     

The impact of the projected new growth will strain the Town’s existing transportation infrastructure specifically the Main Vail (176) and West Vail (173) interchange roundabouts.  Both of these roundabout interchanges are vital to Vail’s connectivity, as they are the only means of crossing Interstate 70 within a 3 mile stretch along the commercial and resort core areas of Vail, and they are the only points of access to the Interstate, the main artery within the Vail Valley.  Straining these locations to operation failure paralyzes Vail’s Transportation network.  This failure has occurred in the recent past during peak visitor times and when Vail is overwhelmed with additional traffic from Vail Pass closures, causing all traffic, transit,  emergency services and general town services, to go to ‘gridlock’ within this 3 mile stretch.  The future growth of Vail will require additional relief to these two key locations. 

The analysis of these interchange locations and Vail’s connectivity has been on-going since the original Transportation Masterplan was developed in 1991, and since that time numerous improvements have been made to these locations; most notably, the construction of the roundabouts.   Design alternatives discussed since then have been included in some of the Town’s relevant Transportation documents.   

Each document suggest improvements to increase and/or relieve capacity at both the Main Vail and West Vail roundabouts, with the most notable improvements suggested being the “Simba Run Underpass” (underpass) and the expansion of the existing roundabouts.  The suggested underpass is a grade separated crossing of the interstate located approximately half way between the Main Vail and West Vail interchanges near the namesake Simba Run Condominiums.  This particular project would add connectivity between the north and south side of the interstate, provide enhanced multi-modal mobility, and relieve the interchanges at Main and West Vail of repetitive thru traffic by providing a direct connection between the core resort village areas and the West Vail mall area.  It will also complement the future development of Ever Vail.

In a joint effort, the Town of Vail (TOV) and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are working with Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig (FHU) to prepare design plans for the Simba Run Underpass.  The effort will evaluate the existing and future operating conditions of the existing interchanges, complete a location verification report for the  Underpass, obtain National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) clearances, and complete final design for the new Underpass. 

 

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