Steamboat Springs The private road that gives many motorists in and near the town of Milner a faster route to U.S. Highway 40 is going public.
The Routt County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the acquisition and realignment of County Road 179 Tuesday.
The County Road and Bridge Department requested the acquisition to ease traffic through Milner and improve motorists' safety.
The private road diverts traffic away from the town and further east on U.S. 40.
County officials are concerned the intersection of U.S. 40 and the main road through Milner endangers motorists turning onto U.S. 40 and motorists driving on U.S. 40.
"This petition's totally about safety," County Commissioner Doug Monger said.
The new county road will lead motorists away from the dangerous intersection and to an intersection further up the highway that provides acceleration and deceleration lanes onto U.S. 40.
"This is a plan for the future," Monger said. "This isn't a plan for today."
The Camilletti Pit gained permission from the county last year to construct the private road a half-mile east of Milner.
The only access to U.S. Highway 40 at the time was C.R. 179, which runs through Milner. The Camilletti Pit wanted to avoid sending its gravel trucks through a residential area to reach the highway.
But residents thought it was a good idea, too.
"It became apparent that it had value to the public as well," said Paul Draper, director of the County Road and Bridge Department.
The commissioners approved realigning the path of C.R. 179 from its existing route through Milner to follow the private road built for the Camilletti Pit.
Realignment involves eliminating the y-shaped intersection that connects C.R. 179 and the private gravel pit road and creating a new perpendicular intersection.
The small section of C.R 179 that is vacated in the realignment will be closed to vehicular traffic and made into a 6-foot paved walkway for pedestrians.
Some residents near Milner were concerned the realignment would compromise pedestrians' safety by forcing them onto the high-traffic perpendicular intersection.