The Turquoise Lake Road is OPEN . . . Kind Of
Portion still closed to vehicle traffic, for now. . .
No doubt, last week’s spring snow storm made the job a bit more challenging, but in the end, Lake County Road and Bridge opened up the Turquoise Lake Road on Monday, April 20. Well, kinda.
“The road will remain blocked just after the (Sugar Loaf) Dam for probably a couple more weeks,” explained Public Works Director Brad Palmer. The reason the road wasn’t fully plowed yet is so that a team of engineers can access with the slide area along County Road 4, where loosening gravel and buckle issues continue to be a persistent safety problem.
In fact, starting today, April 22, representatives with Golder & Associates will be on site to assess the data collected by the sizemac probes in the ground which have been monitoring ground movements in the hope to identify the problem and hopefully provide a solution.
“I’m hoping that the road will be open all the way around within two weeks,” stated Palmer on April 20. “There ain’t much snow out there – I’ve seen it worse.”
The portion of County Road 9c from the Leadville Junction access road to the main lake portal has been plowed and is accessible for those wanting to take the “short loop.” But until the engineers’ work on that portion on County Road 4 is complete, full access along the lake road will be limited, which includes County Road 9 on the north side on the lake. Leadville Today will keep you posted and let readers know when it’s time for that first-season trip around the lake.
Up until last week’s spring storm, it seemed as if winter had packed up ahead of schedule, with March and April seeing unseasonably warm temperatures melting the snow at 10,200 feet, quickly. But as most high country dwellers understand, Mother Nature always has the last say. The Leadville area is likely to see at least one more good spring snow storm. Therefore Turquoise Lake motorists and recreational users are encouraged to be cautious, as there will still be some icy and snow-packed patches after the road has been cleared. In addition, when county plows gain access to plow the rest of the road, people are asked to give operators plenty of room, staying clear of the work area to let them do their job quickly and safely.
Turquoise Lake Road Race Use High This Summer
The condition of the Turquoise Lake Road is particularly important this summer as the popular loop will see two additional bike races come through this summer. The first, The Bicycle Tour of Colorado (BTC), is a week long, leisure loop ride through Colorado. The kick-off for Day One on June 21 will start at Breckenridge, come through Leadville via Copper Mountain, then head out to the lake for an added excursion loop before pushing back to where it started.
There will be an estimated 800 cyclists participating in the BTC. According to their website this race is “a fully supported tour with aid stations, tech and sag support and meals (for purchase).”
UPDATE: Leadville Today was contacted this morning by Lake County Building & Land Use, Asst. Planner Anne Schneider and informed that this race route was assessed by The County Review Agencies and it was determined that the Turquoise Lake Road is not suitable for the BTC so instead local officials are working with event coordinators to utilize the Mineral Belt Trail (MBT) to make up the lost mileage. Therefore the race will still come through Lake County, just a different route.
“The MBT will be a wonderful substitution providing a safer route for that large of a recreational rider group,” wrote Schneider in an email to Leadville Today. (Publisher’s Note: Thanks for the quick response, helping to keep readers current).
On May 30 the lake road will see the annual Turquoise Lake Half Marathon on May 30, hosted by the Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame. And don’t forget about the 2015 Tri-It-High Triathlon and Du-It-High Duathlon which will take place July 18-19, and includes a run and bike portion on the lake road. This race is put on by the Lake County Recreation Department.
After that, the lake road will be used by Leadville Race Series, as part of the course for several race and training events.
Then, as August comes to a close, Colorado’s largest sporting event, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will be back in Lake County . . . twice! While specific details have not been released by race officials, Lake County Emergency Services Manager Mike McHargue did make mention at the January 29 Emergency Services Council meeting, that the Pro Challenge will be coming through Lake County for two, of its epic 7-Day trek across the state.
On Aug. 19, Stage Three of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, racers will push from Copper Mountain to Aspen via Lake County and Independence Pass.
It’s on this leg of the internationally acclaimed race that competitors are likely to take in a side excursion around Turquoise Lake. The following day, Aug. 20, the Peloton will lead the pack from Aspen to Breckenridge, through, what most are saying, the southern portion of Lake County over Indy Pass, through Twin Lakes, and then south to Buena Vista, ultimately taking on Hoosier Pass into the back side of Breckenridge.
So it seems that this “rough lake road,” could see unusually high traffic this summer, between the campers, fishermen and thousands and thousands of racers and fans. But for residents, who anxiously await the glory days of summer, the hope is also that local officials have rolled out a road maintenance plan, along with the welcome mat. Stay Tuned!