Summer's end should see road work's end

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County and state road improvement workers will be out in full force trying to finish up road maintenance projects before winter hits.

The county recently awarded bids for about 31 miles of single chip-sealing and about 7 miles of double chip-sealing across the county.

The single chip-sealing will cost about $766,000 and should be completed by GMCO of Carbondale by the end of August.

The double chip-sealing, which involves putting two layers of chip and seal on the road, will cost about $326,000 and Harry's Heavy Haulers of Rifle should have it completed by the beginning of September.

Both maintenance projects will take place on sections of Routt County roads, including county roads 53, 129 and 14.

Routt County Road and Bridge Department Director Paul Draper cautioned that people should expect delays and decreased speed limits, which may be posted at 25 mph.

Speed limits are decreased to prevent the chips that are put down on the roads from damaging car windshields.

Chip-sealing is done every five to seven years to prolong the life of roads, Draper said, because as asphalt ages, it becomes brittle.

"It's that brittleness of the surface that makes it begin to crack, and moisture gets in to the asphalt and now you have potholes or even worse," Draper said. "Chip-seal is a less costly maintenance technique."

Though both projects should be finished by early September, Draper said there could be delays if weather doesn't cooperate.

Draper also said that a $189,000 project to patch County Road 14 over Yellow Jacket Pass was finished at the end of July.

Last spring, officials started to notice cracks in the road were making a checkerboard pattern because of all of the traffic. Draper said more than 35 building permits had been issued for projects off County Road 14, and that the heavy traffic on the road had more impact than was expected.

To fix the road, the county worked from July 9-30.

"We had a great fear that the road was not going to survive the spring thaw next year," Draper said. "We're trying to give the citizens a product we can travel this winter."

Projects continue; expect traffic delays in county

Several projects on state roads are continuing this week, and residents can expect delays across the county.

The chip and seal highway-resurfacing project on U.S. Highway 40 between Steamboat Springs and Hayden will continue until the week of Aug. 18, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said.

That project has caused delays of about 10 minutes Mondays through Thursdays.

About 21 miles of U.S. 40 near Maybell is getting a pavement overlay. The project will continue through Oct. 1 and is causing delays of about 15 minutes, Mondays through Fridays, Shanks said.

Reconstruction of the west side of Rabbit Ears Pass, known as Muddy Pass, is continuing to cause delays of up to 35 minutes Mondays through Fridays, Shanks said. The $4 million project involves a 2-mile segment of the pass.

The project should be complete in early fall; until then, drivers may opt to avoid the construction area by taking Colorado Highway 134 south over Gore Pass to Colo. 131 north into Steamboat.

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