Area road improvements begin

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— Construction on County Road 14 and County Road 14F begins this summer, and county officials hope the improvements minimize the number of accidents that occur at the Y-shaped intersection.

Routt County Commissioners approved a bid Tuesday for reconstruction of the intersection.

"It's been on our list of projects for a long, long time," Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. "We felt that this was the time that we needed to go ahead and address that intersection."

The county awarded the contract to R.N. Robinson & Son, a contractor based in Hayden.

Changes to the intersection became a priority for county officials last summer after the death of a 12-year-old Loveland boy.

Joshua Johnson was killed when the sport utility vehicle he was riding in flipped at the intersection.

The driver, 48-year-old Elisa Patterson, took the curve at 30 mph, despite a yellow cautionary sign at the base of the hill that warns motorists to slow their speed to 15 mph before reaching the top of the hill.

Johnson suffered a severe head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene after being ejected from his seat.

He was in town for a July soccer tournament.

Six contractors submitted bids, which ranged from a low $355,371 to a high $553,067, for the project.

R.N. Robinson & Son received the county's go-ahead because it offered do the job for the smallest amount, Stahoviak said.

Duckels Construction, Connell Resources, Native Excavating, Precision Excavating and Anson Excavating submitted the other five bids.

Commissioners were pleased three of the bids came in under the estimated cost of the project.

Estimates called for a $402,453 project, so the county saves about $47,000.

The Routt County Road and Bridge Department looked at several options to make the road safer, including lowering the road and eliminating the Y intersection.

Speed plays a large factor in the cause of accidents at the intersection of C.R. 14 and C.R. 14F.

A yellow arrow notifies motorists of a sharp curve at the top of the hill, but motorists who take the curve too fast can easily lose control of their vehicles.

Construction should begin in mid-June and near completion by the end of the summer.

Crews will lower the road somewhat and create one entrance that will run perpendicular to C.R. 14.

"They will try to make it a safer situation," Stahoviak said.

A section of C.R. 14 will be closed for a period of time to allow crews to work quickly and more efficiently, Commissioner Dan Ellison said.

"This can minimize the cost and help us finish it faster," he said.

Adequate signage will be posted to alert motorists to the closed access before they reach a point where they must turn around, he said.

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