Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Imagine this - a tunnel through Vail Mountain

The idea was one of several recently presented as a way to alleviate traffic in the crowded resort area.

Several ideas for tunneling the interstate are technically possible, according to recent studies. The two tunnel options that go directly under Vail Mountain are the best alternatives, the study says. Those tunnels would be more than nine miles long.

The “cut and cover” method, which would lower the current interstate and put a lid on it, also remains an option. It’s the most costly method, but it could be advantageous because it could be done in stages, the study says.

The study was released after Vail Town Council members said they were interested in it. Changing the highway would be a multi-billion-dollar project. Suggested options:
++ A 9.4-mile-long tunnel from Timber Creek east of East Vail to west of the West Vail interchange
++ A tunnel from Timber Creek on the east to one of two spots: either the Eagle River just south of Dowd Chute or to West Vail.

Some of the tunnel proposals would be the longest in North America, but there are longer tunnels in Europe, the study says. For comparison - the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel is 1.7 miles long.

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