I-70 road closures causing unwanted traffic but welcomed business for Steamboat Springs

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Posted at 10:11 PM, Aug 02, 2021

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Life is changing fast for the people of Steamboat Springs.

"We have huge traffic through Steamboat — big trucks, campers. Everybody on vacation, everybody is coming through downtown Steamboat," said Shannon Lukens, the news director for Steamboat Radio

It’s a direct result of the I-70 closures near Glenwood Canyon. Truckers and tourists alike are being forced to detour on Highway 40, taking them right through the heart of Steamboat Springs.

"The folks in town are just like, 'OK we’re going to have to deal with this,' but it’s not necessarily fun for everybody," Lukens said.

Of course, it’s not all bad. Lindsay Dillenbeck, co-owner of F M Light & Sons, is one of many businesses seeing a boost.

"It’s always a good problem to have when you have too much business; there’s never too much business. It’s a welcome surprise," Dillenbeck said.

A spokesperson for the town says they have seen increases in different industries including hotels, restaurants and convenience stores as more folks are taking a break during their longer than expected trip west.

"It’s tough. We’re definitely a town built for a highway, not an interstate. Things get jammed up very quickly," Kris Allen said.

Allen is the owner of Allen’s Clothing. He says the business is seeing more revenue lately, but his business model had to change. His store tends to cater to locals, but he says he’s seeing a lot more tourists and a lot less of his regular customers.

"They are avoiding coming downtown. Parking is an issue. There’s just way more traffic, takes forever to get through town," Allen said of his local clientele.

Allen expects his regular patrons will be back when I-70 opens back up. Until then, he’s enjoying the increased revenue while still worrying about the traffic coming through his town.

"We will look forward to it ending," Allen said. "It’s just too much traffic, it’s causing issues."