Boulder County Transportation requesting that cyclists refrain from using roadways under construction in the mountains and foothills
Boulder County Transportation is reaching out the cycling community in and around Boulder County to request that cyclists refrain from using roadways under construction in the mountains and foothills where the use of heavy equipment and frequent truck traffic is now the norm.
“We are writing to ask for your patience and cooperation as Boulder County continues its extensive flood recovery efforts,” wrote Transportation Director George Gerstle in a letter circulated to the cycling community this afternoon. “We know that cycling opportunities throughout the county have decreased due to the sheer magnitude of damage to our roadway system caused by the historic September flooding and we also know that these extenuating conditions have been frustrating and have adversely impacted the way you live, travel, and recreate.”
Since the flood, it has been the county’s priority to help the community’s most impacted residents gain safe access to their homes. County road maintenance crews have been working to repair affected roads as quickly as possible in order to provide access to areas still cut-off to any mode of travel. In order for county road crews to work to restore road access to all users, the county has asked both motorists and bicyclists to limit their use of county roads west of the foothills.
In addition to this request, the county is particularly concerned about unsafe cycling conditions that will continue as extensive road repairs are made throughout the mountain communities.
These unsafe conditions include:
- Increased volumes of heavy construction and road maintenance equipment along compromised roadways;
- Steep drop-offs along many roadways from washed-away ditches;
- Destroyed, damaged or washed-away roadway shoulders that typically serve to separate vehicle and bicycle travel, allow pull-offs by cyclists, and enable safe passing by vehicles;
- Persistent debris on roadways from existing and recurring rock slide activity.
While these conditions are experienced by both motorists and bicyclists, bicyclists are much more likely to have their safety compromised by them. For this reason, the county has temporarily closed several roads to cycling while crews work to restore its roadway infrastructure.
In addition to roads closed to all travel, roadways temporarily closed to cycling include:
- Flagstaff: There has been extensive damage to the shoulders on Flagstaff Road. The county will expedite addressing this damage with subsequent road collapse/washout repair performed this winter or spring. Also, there is concern for safety at the single lane alternating traffic signal on Flagstaff. Until this work is complete, there is not adequate room to safely enable bicycle travel and vehicles at the same time.
- Boulder Canyon (SH 119): The multi-use path along Boulder Creek experienced significant damage, although it is currently open from City of Boulder limits to Dome Rock. We are working with the city of Boulder and CDOT to determine the final reconstruction timeframe for the section to Fourmile Canyon Drive to repair damaged water lines. Areas along the roadway itself are extremely narrow following the flood. CDOT still has repairs underway on shoulders, further limiting room for cyclists.
- Fourmile/Gold Run/Wall Street: With areas of total washout throughout Fourmile Canyon, the county is building a temporary winter access* road with a permanent road planned for future construction. For the next month or two, this area will experience extensive construction traffic and debris removal from the creek and damaged properties, creating conditions that are unsafe to bicyclists. Upon completion of the winter access* road this route will be re-evaluated.
- Sunshine Canyon Drive: This canyon road serves as the primary construction access to flood-damaged areas. Higher motor vehicle traffic volumes and heavy truck traffic are occurring and will continue, given the upcoming closure on Fourmile Canyon Drive for winter access* road construction. The county will re-evaluate whether to open Sunshine Canyon Drive to cyclists upon the reopening of Fourmile.
- Linden/Pine Brook Hills: There is extensive damage to the shoulders and washout areas on these roads. The county will address the shoulder damage in the next 60 days. Until this work is complete, there is not adequate room to safely enable bicycle travel. Upon completion of the winter access* road this route will be re-evaluated.
- Wagon Wheel/Pinto Drive/Bow Mountain: There has been extensive damage throughout this area. The county is currently building a winter access* road with plans for a permanent road to follow. Until this work is complete, there is not adequate room to safely enable bicycle travel.
- Lee Hill/Old Stage: Extensive shoulder damage, washouts and debris on the road make this route unsafe to cyclists. The county will address the shoulder damage in the next 60 days. Upon completion of the winter access* road this route will be re-evaluated.
- Lefthand Canyon: County road crews are working to build winter access* on Lefthand Canyon Drive, followed by a future permanent road. This route, like many others, received substantial damage that rendered many sections completely impassable by any means of travel.
- James Canyon: The road from the junction at Lefthand Canyon Drive to Jamestown is almost completely gone. The county is working to first build a construction road followed by a winter access* road until a permanent road can be established. Upon completion of the winter access* road this route will be re-evaluated.
*“Winter Access” a rough, rudimentary, unpaved road that can be safely plowed or graded
As the weeks continue, the status of roadway conditions will be updated at: www.bouldercounty.org/flood/roads/pages/bicycletravel.aspx.