Idaho Springs Briefs

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/12/22

Hearing continued for Miner Street rafting permit; and the city supports CDOT’s grant application for Floyd Hill funding.

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Idaho Springs Briefs

Posted

City supports CDOT’s grant application for Floyd Hill funding

Idaho Springs officials are signing a letter of support for the Colorado Department of Transportation’s grant application for the Interstate 70 Floyd Hill project.

According to CDOT officials at a May 9 City Council work session, the project is estimated at more than $700 million. The agency has secured $460 million thus far.

CDOT is applying for a federal grant for the remaining $240 million, and the deadline is May 23.

In the meantime, CDOT and its contractors — the same ones who worked on the Veterans Memorial Tunnels — will complete a final design for the project’s first phase.

CDOT has broken down the entire project, which will range from exit 248 at Beaver Brook to exit 241 at Colorado Boulevard, into three packages or phases. The first will be the eastern most section, and CDOT is hoping to start construction next spring.

The second and third are slated for fall 2023 and early 2024, respectively.

CDOT’s Kurt Kionka and his colleagues confirmed there won’t be any lane closures during peak times.

The Floyd Hill project will create a third eastbound lane to eliminate the bottleneck, replace the two bridges at the bottom of the hill, flatten the curve, and add a frontage road section between the Hidden Valley exit and U.S. Highway 6.

The project will also include Greenway improvements and wildlife safety mitigation, including a fence along I-70 between Evergreen and Floyd Hill. Kionka said CDOT is also adding an eastbound climbing lane for trucks and other slow-moving vehicles.

Overall, CDOT representatives said by alleviating the bottleneck and connecting traffic to the new westbound express lane, it should reduce travel times by more than an hour during peak travel congestion.

Hearing continued for Miner Street rafting permit

At its May 9 meeting, the City Council approved an ordinance first reading for a conditional use permit allowing rafting at 1743 Miner St.

The council also continued the public hearing to the second reading, which will be May 23, to allow staff members time to investigate whether the applicants can start and end rafting trips at the property.

City staff and the planning commission recommended approving the permit application, but with several conditions, including no trailers taking rafts in and out of the small parking lot.

The Costellos of Mile Hi Rafting plan to operate a rafting company and a bike shop at the location. They said they plan to only offer three rafting trips a day a few hours apart, so there’s no overlap with customer vehicles in the parking lot.

They have signed an agreement for off-site rafting storage, where employees will park as well.

Although Mile Hi Rafting was planning to host trips between Upper Dumont and Courtney-Ryley-Cooper Park, Dan Costello said it’d be easier to put in and take out rafts at the business rather than CRC Park.

However, city officials noted that a neighboring business’ permit restricts from putting in and taking out rafts along Miner Street, although no one remembered exactly why.

Costello said, if allowed, he’d start trips in Upper Dumont, raft to Miner Street, and tie up the rafts there to use for more advanced trips down the canyon. He wasn’t planning to put in or take out rafts at the location, exactly; but if necessary, he’d use a flat-bed truck to move them rather than a trailer.

City officials were going to investigate whether and why that would be restricted, noting that the adjacent property could reapply if Mile Hi Rafting’s use was allowed.

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