Traffic conditions in the area, especially along State Highway 66 between Lyons, Longmont, and I-25, are a major concern. The existing 1998 mining permit held by Martin Marietta Materials allows for an average of 200 daily round-trip truck trips between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM, with a maximum of 240 truck daily trips to and from the site. That is one gondola truck entering or leaving the plant’s entrance on SH 66 every three minutes. The permit also allows six additional train trips daily of up to 35 rail cars per trip through Hygiene and Longmont (three round trips per day). The additional trucks and trains would negatively impact traffic, safety, noise, and pollution in an already congested area whose population has increased over 40% since the permit’s approval nearly two decades ago, according to the 2010 census. The proposed mining also would certainly impact other routes in the region that are increasingly strained by heavy traffic, such as Hwy 36 between Lyons and Boulder.
As of March 2017, CDOT was unaware of Martin Marietta Materials permit or plans to aggravate traffic conditions in the area. SOSVV attended the CDOT community presentation in March and informed CDOT of this imminent, potential threat. CDOT was already aware and very concerned about existing road hazards on SH 66, as detailed in their March 2017 presentation, even without the exorbitant increase in traffic and hazards in road conditions that this proposed mining operation poses.
The SH 66 corridor poses a number of safety concerns:
Several intersection and mainline locations along SH 66 have a high number of crashes when compared to similar roadways. Between January and September of 2017 there were five traffic accident fatalities on Hwy 66.
Bicycle areas along the corridor have presented serious safety concerns, as revealed by recorded incidents and physical characteristics such as cross-street connections.
A majority of the SH 66 corridor is a heavily utilized by bicycles engaging in recreation, commuting, and cycling races and other events. There are many areas of the corridor that have insufficient shoulders to accommodate cyclists, especially non-advanced riders.
There are a number of pedestrian destinations in the corridor, many of which do not have sidewalks between the destinations.
Mobility and access issues
The movement of people, goods, and services along the corridor has resulted in a number of mobility problems related to various transportation modes.
Traffic congestion, inadequate intersections that fail to accommodate users’ needs, highway design, and unreliable travel times substantially impact the ability of people to move across and along the corridor.
The current number, locations, and design of public roadway accesses have contributed to operational and safety deficiencies relating to traffic along the corridor. There are individual private driveways, business accesses directly onto SH 66, and inconsistent access spacing, which leads to mobility and safety problems.
Transit service in the corridor is primarily focused on north-south connections and not local east-west service. There is currently a non-continuous connection of transit service providers in the corridor.