County officials eye road improvements

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Routt County officials hope road improvements that were delayed this year because of a tight budget will be on the list for completion next year.

County Road and Bridge Director Paul Draper said several pricey capital projects that were postponed are scheduled for next year. Any more delays could mean increased maintenance costs in the long-run, he said.

Last week, Draper toured county roads with county commissioners and the county manager to look at some of the top-priority capital projects.

Models of traffic and road wear help officials determine when roadwork is needed, but it is important to see the roads first-hand to learn what conditions really are, Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said.

Budgeting in a tight year is difficult, he said, but county commissioners have seen for themselves that "these roads do need some improvements."

Priorities for next summer include two pavement overlays, one on Routt County Road 129 and the other on C.R. 212. Overlays are done once every 20 years, and the two roads were due for a treatment last year, Draper said.

Sections of both roads are starting to crack because the brittle pavement can't withstand the expansion of soils in the spring, Draper said. If an overlay is not done in time and the roads break into chunks, they would not be able to support the weight of traffic.

Two sections of C.R. 129 need the overlay: one is 2.7 miles between Big Creek and C.R. 54, the other is 3 miles from Moon Hill to Seedhouse Road. The cost would be about $500,000, Draper said.

A 1.6 mile section of C.R. 212 in Stagecoach also needs an overlay that would cost about $140,000.

Another possible project next summer is the reconstruction of 3.1 miles of C.R. 27, the third phase in a seven-mile reconstruction project. The county is waiting to learn whether it will receive funds for the project from the state's Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program.

Construction on the McGregor Bridge, which leads into the landfill near Milner, could take place next summer. The county plans to contract with a company this fall to do the work, which is possible thanks to $800,000 in federal funds and $100,000 in county funds.

Meanwhile, this summer's road work is going smoothly, Draper said. Repairs to the Mad Creek Bridge are finished, and chip-and-seal projects are scheduled to begin today.

Road and Bridge crews will then help with various projects across the county, such as hauling gravel and building a new access road at the county fairgrounds.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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