Colorado 131 widening is set

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The widening of Colorado Highway 131 between Catamount Ranch and Oak Creek likely will not be completed until 2010 or later.

That phase of the highway improvement project originally was scheduled to be complete a few years ago, Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.

At a meeting of the Northwest Colorado Transportation Planning Region last week, Ellison and other representatives from Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Jackson counties drafted a suggested plan for improvements to area state roads between 2005 and 2010. Ellison is vice chairman of the regional committee.

That draft plan included a $3.8 million widening of Colo. 131 that would stretch about three miles from the intersection with Routt County Road 18 to Routt County Road 14. The remaining 13 miles to Oak Creek will be completed in phases between 2007 and 2010, according to the draft schedule.

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said that while the Colo. 131 widening has been delayed, he is excited it's back on the table, as he thought that no further improvements to the road would be made before 2010.

"In a time of limited or no funds, we're still able to move forward on a project that will be very beneficial to our citizens," Monger said.

The draft plan will be sent to the Colorado Transportation Commission along with drafts from other regions, and the commission then will take those suggestions into consideration and make final changes, Ellison said.

Other suggested projects include widening a section of Colo. 13 south and west of Meeker, a section of road that often is congested, Ellison said, and improving part of Colo. 139, which is a route used heavily by trucks.

The committee also recommended work on Colo. 13 near the Wyoming state line, a project Ellison said has been under consideration since he became a county commissioner nine years ago.

State funds for transportation are tight, Ellison said, so most of the projects recommended by the regional committee have been on the table for a while.

"None of these projects are brand new ideas," Ellison said. "They've been on the list. They've worked their way up the ladder."

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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