24 December 2014: Christmas stolen from Clear Creek

Christmas stolen from Clear Creek

The Christmas Season: The time when good boys and girls find delightful presents in their stockings.  That might be happening elsewhere, but here in Clear Creek the Grinch has stolen Christmas.

Dr. Seuss could’ve had CDOT in mind as a model for his creepy villain given how CDOT muck-a-mucks must’ve decided the good citizens and merchants of Clear Creek have been naughty instead of being cooperative, supportive, and patient stakeholders.

With the plethora of mine shafts in Clear Creek, the last thing Creekers need is another.  But the shaft is what CCC continually gets from CDOT.

The first of the one-two punch was and is the never-ending incremental widening and straightening of the Vail Highway, also known as the Clear Creek I-70 corridor.  The follow-through was CDOT blowing off the county by denying its citizens a ride on its Vail-to-Denver bus despite the fact the bus will be traversing the county and likely stopping so passengers can use the Georgetown Visitor Center facilities.

One wonders on which planet CDOT brass resides given their lame rationalization that only counties with an established bus service are worthy of boarding.  At least Rosa Parks was allowed on the bus.

Perhaps the commissioners should consider starting up a burro service to provide transport and declare it bus service.  I don’t recall it written in Deuteronomy bus service must be motorized, and besides, the commishes can readily secure jackasses from the CDOT stables.

Businesses in Idaho Springs have borne the brunt of and continue to suffer grievously for the ineptitude in the planning and implementing the replacement of the exit 240 bridge.  Their compensation: holiday lighting along Miner St., which does nothing to pay the bills of the workers who have lost thousands of dollars in lost wages.  Those workers, much like their employers, don’t have the deep pockets and disposable income their neighbors in Summit and Eagle have.

What’s echoing throughout the county is CDOT refusing to accept responsibility.  In his letter to the Courant, Omer Humble calls it like it is: “Responsibility needs to be accepted, and equity needs to be served.”

Commissioner Tim Mauck gave voice not only to his frustration but also for many.

“The ability of improvements to I-70 to go forward,” said Tim, “require that the quality of life in Clear Creek County is not compromised, most importantly our jobs.”

The delays at the 240 bridge, Tim pointed out, are only one component that has gone awry with this project.

“Material delays, cost estimates, other construction challenges that include lane closures that have gone beyond allowable limits have occurred.”

In addition to the travails residents, workers, and merchants have endured, this experience should serve as an eye-opener and reminder about what will be unearthed when contractors begin scraping pavement for CDOT’s next move to “improve” commuters driving experience: a westbound Vail lane.

With a minimum of 23 mill sites beneath and along the I-70 corridor in the CDOT right-away, an abundance of lethal toxins and pollutants that can create deadly conditions for people and animals and ravage the environment are awaiting their chance to work their evil magic.

The history of this entire experience from many years past through today ought to make clear hard truths for Clear Creek: CDOT is all about highway construction and not transportation, Vail is all about increasing its bottom line, and neither has Clear Creek’s interest at heart.

CDOT has been playing CCC like a fiddle.  Encouraging CDOT to widen the westbound bore of the Veterans Memorial Tunnels played right into their hands as evidenced by the talk about the westbound Vail lane.  The only things stopping the construction of another lane of asphalt are the community of Idaho Springs and the toxins beneath the current surface, both of which are apparently mere bumps in the road.

Responsibility for this snafu, however, goes beyond CDOT, Tim averred, to the top.

“I’m most disappointed the Governor has not weighed in with his support for Idaho Springs.  We worked hard and made sacrifices to make the improvements happen.  Our achievements reinforced the case for his reelection.  His silence is troubling.”

Trust broken.  CDOT’s credibility shot and Gov. Hick’s dwindling.

“Our eyes should be wide open, if they weren’t before,” cautioned Tim.

Indeed.  It’s time we take our blinders off as well as the gloves.

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