The Vail Town Council has voted to add $2.865 million in additional funding to the Vail I-70 Underpass project. The decision took place at the Town Council’s May 5 meeting with a 6-1 vote to approve. Greg Moffet voted against the motion. The decision will now be forwarded to the Colorado Transportation Commission for its review on June 18 to determine whether or not the Transportation Commission will fund the balance of the project’s shortfall, which represents an additional $6.57 million.
The current $14.8 million allotment from CDOT for the Vail underpass sunsets in 2017.
During Tuesday’s discussion, council members reviewed a funding gap of an estimated $9.3 million which represents significant increases in general construction costs, utility relocation costs, right-of-way acquisition costs and construction management/engineering costs. Possible funding sources were reviewed as well as a list of future capital improvement projects. Other considerations, such as options for potential savings and the impacts of not moving forward with the project were presented.
In 2013, the Town Council approved a budget of approximately $6 million for the project, which represented a cost-share split of 29 percent from the town with the Colorado Department of Transportation funding the remainder of the construction. The Town Council approved the staff recommendation to fund 29 percent of the funding gap and fund the recommended request for public art for a total additional cash contribution of $2.865 million.
As designed, the underpass would be built beneath I-70 between the West Vail and Town Center exits. The connection is situated between the Savoy Villas and Simba Run condominiums on the north side and a few hundred yards east of the Cascade Village entrance on the south side. An extensive landscaping plan would provide a buffer for adjacent properties. Noise walls have been eliminated from the project after a survey of impacted properties showed a lack of support for the sound barriers.
The Vail underpass has been identified in regional transportation plans for more than 20 years to help relieve congestion at the two interchanges and improve transit circulation and emergency response within the town. It would also provide a safe and efficient alternative for pedestrians and bicyclists.
If the Town Council and CDOT agree on a funding plan, construction would begin in April 2016 with completion in December 2017. Otherwise, the project will be shelved indefinitely until full funding is available.
For additional details about the project, visit vailgov.com/underpass.
Contact: Tom Kassmel, 970-479-2235