County to treat roads for dust

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— Routt County is anticipating a dry summer and is preparing for dusty roads.

Today, Routt County commissioners likely will choose GMCO Corporation to provide the more than 780,000 gallons of Magnesium Chloride that will be applied to county roads this summer.

The liquid salt solution, the same used in the winter to make roads safe from ice and snow, is applied once during late May and early June to keep dust to a minimum. One application is sufficient for the summer.

Paul Draper, Routt County Road and Bridge director, told county commissioners Monday that even with a lower per-gallon cost of the chemical, the $164,000 cost of treating county roads is more than the $149,000 the department budgeted.

That difference, county officials decided, would be made up through cuts in the road maintenance budget.

The roads that will be treated this year are, for the most part, the same that were treated last summer, Draper said. The roads include the gravel and dirt sections of Buffalo Pass and Strawberry Park roads, and roads in Hahn's Peak Village and Phippsburg.

The county will treat an additional 5.2 miles of roads this summer. Those sections are: 1.5 miles of Routt County Road 179, 1.6 miles of Routt County Road 80, 0.2 miles of Routt County Road 70, 1 mile of Routt County Road 68, a short section of Routt County Road 14 E, and 0.7 miles of Routt County Road 129.

The number of additional miles to treat likely will grow as traffic increases in the county, Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said.

"We need to assume that we're probably going to be doing more of this," Monger said.

Which roads to treat are determined by whether the road sees more than 200 daily trips, as well as other factors, such as how close homes are to the road and whether the chemical could help stabilize a steep hill.

County officials also discussed adding treatment for a section of road to the Eagleswatch townhomes in Stagecoach. The county already treats two sections of the road because of the high number of average daily trips, but has not treated the third section because the road splits and therefore has less traffic. Commissioners said the county could treat part of the split road or pay half the cost of treating the entire road.

The county also treats sections of private roads, as long as the owners pay the county $200 for each tenth of a mile treated. The cost of the chemical is about $1,600 for a mile.

Spraying Magnesium Chloride on roads likely will begin during the last week of May or earlier, Draper said. It should be finished by June 15.

Drivers who encounter recently treated roads should be sure to wash their cars after driving, Draper said. The salt is highly corrosive.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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