Edwards to Minturn – Xcel Energy project adds third work crew this week, closures on US 6 required

July 21, 2011 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - Natural gas project to finish in October - EAGLE COUNTY – Xcel Energy has added a third construction crew on its Edwards-to-Minturn project to ensure the work is completed by October 2011. The schedule of work for all crews this week is included below.

Xcel Energy is proactively replacing a 6-inch, high-pressure natural gas line with 16-inch pipe, to meet growing customer demand for natural gas and improve reliability in the region. Xcel Energy has seen delays, however, with the installation of the pipe due to unforeseen soil integrity issues and weather delays.

Travel impacts during the work:

Construction will occur generally each day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Construction will take place primarily in the north side of the west-bound lane along the entire route. Work will end earlier on Fridays before holiday weekends and will also be suspended for some special summer and fall local events.

Work Zone 1

This week the first construction “spread” or set of crews, working at the west end of the project, will continue installing the new pipeline on U.S. Highway 6 between Arrowhead Drive and Knudsen Ranch Road and move east. Directional boring, currently underway at the underground golf cart crossing, should be completed this week. Boring will then move to the Avon Boulevard roundabout.

Two lanes of traffic will be maintained in these construction areas as much as possible—at times, motorists may encounter single-lane, alternating travel through the work zone. A full closure of U.S. Highway 6 will be required between Knudsen Ranch Road and West Beaver Creek Boulevard starting July 21 for approximately two weeks. The closure will be in effect 24/7, with access permitted only to bus traffic, emergency vehicles and residents in the area; no through-traffic will be allowed. The roadway will be controlled by flaggers during the hours of bus operations. Access for local residents will be provided via a detour from West Beaver Creek Boulevard on the east end.

Work Zone 2:

The second construction spread, or set of crews, is progressing eastbound and this week will move from Kayak Crossing to the I-70 interchange. Their work is currently requiring a full closure of this section of US. Highway 6, which will remain in place at all hours until approximately August 5.Motorists can use these alternate routes: to access U.S. Highway 24, exit I-70 at Exit 171. To access Avon/Eagle Vail, exit I-70 at Exit 168.

Work Zone 3:

The new third construction crew will start work at Stone Creek Road and move east to the I-70 overpass east of Eagle Road. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained through this section. Boring will also continue under the golf cart path.

Weekly construction updates can be obtained by calling 1-877-481-6380, or by visiting www.xceledwards-minturnhpgaspipeline.com.

The company has and will continue to work closely with local city, county and government officials, including the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to ensure the safety of the community and the traveling public.

Without increasing the natural gas line’s capacity, the company estimates that the communities of Avon, Minturn, Vail, Beaver Creek, and Summit, Grand, Lake and Chaffee counties may experience natural gas shortages in the winter of 2011. As a regulated utility, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission views this project as Xcel Energy performing regular maintenance on its infrastructure.