Paving situation sticky

Residents fear improvements will bring speeders

— Routt County will be paving Fish Creek Falls Road (County Road 32) this summer, but some residents there aren't very happy about it.

"The concern we have is with an asphalt surface," said Nick Rose, who lives along Fish Creek Falls Road.

"Speeds will increase dramatically."

Rose and other residents attended a county commissioners meeting this week to gripe about traffic on a road that is used to get to the popular Fish Creek Falls tourist area.

Neighbors say empty lots near Fish Creek Falls are a popular place for people to party and drink.

Many of them are afraid that a paved road will give tourists and "partying teenagers" more reason to speed along the road.

Road and Bridge Director Paul Draper explained that the gravel road has to be paved to reduce pollution.

Fish Creek is inside Steamboat's air shed where state regulations require that pollution be decreased.

Draper said the much-used road causes a lot of pollution because the gravel creates so much dust.

Some of the residents said if the roads were going to be paved, why wouldn't they widen the road.

"We're concerned with pedestrians up there," said Kyle Cox.

"How come something isn't being done for walkers, runners, especially in the corners?"

Residents were also worried about students who have to walk up hills and through narrow, blind corners where drivers can't see what's ahead.

Some people even suggested the county create a separate trail for recreational use.

Both ideas were quickly shut down.

Draper said residents themselves made it clear years ago they didn't want Fish Creek Falls Road widened.

As for trails, Commissioner Dan Ellison clearly stated that the "county doesn't want to be in the trail business."

Draper said he did try to make the Fish Creek residents feel better by explaining that the paved road might have the effect of slowing people down.

He explained that the road will not be widened, but will be paved and striped.

"The lanes will only be 9 feet," Draper said.

Having stripes on such a narrow road makes people stay inside the lines, he explained. Many cities are using these and other kinds of visual "barriers" to scare people to stay inside their lanes, Draper said.

The county plans to have the road paved in August.

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