Drivers rejoiced (or at least they were supposed to stop honking their horns) last year when the Colorado Department of Transportation completed the Iron Springs bypass, which straightened and widened a formerly horseshoe-shaped stretch of Highway 9 south of Frisco, ostensibly eliminating a notorious traffic bottleneck.
So what’s with the daily gridlock at the Frisco Adventure Park?
Blame the Highway 9 “gap,” or “missing link,” as Summit County Public Works Director Tom Gosiorowski calls it, a choke point just west of the bypass where four lanes of traffic maddeningly merge to two for less than a mile, then return to four.
In May, CDOT unveiled plans to close the gap in Frisco once and for all. The highway expansion—to six lanes at its widest, including turn lanes—is part of a transformative, $10 million redesign of the corridor on the southern end of town, one that will also include an underpass for pedestrians to cross safely from the County Commons to the Adventure Park.
Aside from calming traffic, taking the adventure out of crossing the street could be the most impactful element of the improvements. “My office has a window that looks out to Highway 9, and in the winter I see lots of tourists who have taken the bus from Breck scamper across the road to go tubing,” Gosiorowski says. “I watch people do that in ski boots, with kids. It’s crazy that no one has been crushed yet.”
Construction could begin in 2019, though it’s more likely to start in 2020 and finish a year later. “I think it’s going to make the drive between Breck and Frisco a lot less frustrating,” says Gosiorowski.
And make traffic on the highway flow like it does on the lake: smooth sailing.