VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – With several feet of snow still piled high, Colorado Department of Transportation crews are very busy, not only clearing mountain roads, but also popular bike paths.
CDOT’s job is even harder because people are using the path over Vail Pass even though it’s closed. Crews are working around the clock to get the bike path open, but there’s no signs marking the closure, and that’s creating dangerous conditions for those people taking a risk and heading on the path.
“We’ve been working on the bike path for roughly two weeks. We had the blower on night shifts,” said David Kuhn, CDOT Field Supervisor.
The massive SnoGo machine is a sight to see, clearing 8 feet wide and 4 feet high sections of snow in a matter of seconds. But it’s still going to be a few more weeks of work before bikes can start racing down Vail Pass again.
“It’s the run off, it’s the melt, trying to gather up the spent traction sand and ensure the safety of the cyclists,” Kuhn said.
CBS4 got a behind-the-scenes chance to ride the path on Wednesday and still found several sections with ice sheets covering the path, which is very dangerous for cyclists. But also, crews still are hard at work trying to clear the path and can’t afford interference from people using the path.
“Safety is the number one, not only for my guys trying to ensure the people and traffic isn’t mixing with the machinery … you’ve got debris washing across the road, we know how skinny tires and gravel, they don’t mix. We just want to try and get all the hazard out of the way before we officially open it,” Kuhn said.
CDOT just maintains the 15 miles from end to end, but doesn’t really have the authority to enforce when a renegade cyclist uses the path. CDOT is urging everyone to just be patient.
“We want everyone to enjoy it. We’re working our best to open this up as soon as possible. We know everyone has cabin fever and they’re wanting to have a good time and we’re here to assist them and we’re doing the best we can.”
This Summit County side is going to be resurfaced and get a few other enhancements. Several companies said they’re hoping to run shuttle operations as soon as possible.
The U.S. Forest Service said they’re going to be monitoring the use on Vail Pass this summer to see just how many people use it, and if those commercial operations need further oversight.
LINK: Vail Pass Bike Path