Twentymile Road to be improved


A $3.5 million road improvement project on Twentymile Road is expected to start Monday.

This week, the Routt County Board of Commissioners awarded the contract to Precision Exca--vating Inc., whose $3.57 million bid was the lower of two bids. The improvement project will reconstruct a 3.1-mile stretch of Twentymile Road, or Routt County Road 27, starting at C.R. 27A, which is three miles south of U.S. Highway 40 near Hayden.

County Engineer Lou Gabos said the existing road will be torn up and replaced with a new base and asphalt. The road also will be redesigned so traffic can travel at 40 miles per hour. The construction involves curve cuts and 54,000 yards of excavation work to move embankments and straighten out the road.

Gabos said the focus of the improvements is to add safety and structure to the road.

This is the third phase of improvements to C.R. 27, which handles much of the coalmine truck traffic. The first phase occurred in 1999 and reconstructed 1.5 miles of road. The second phase was done in 2000 and improved a 3.2-mile stretch of road.

Road and Bridge Director Paul Draper said the official start date for the third phase is Monday but that surveying could begin as early as today. Precision Excavating has until Nov. 1 to finish the project.

Twenty-minute delays are expected during the construction process, Draper said. The road will be restricted to one lane while crews are working. Traffic will be flagged through the construction area. Both lanes will open at night.

Twentymile Road, which is a 27-mile connector road between Oak Creek and Hayden, has been damaged heavily from coal truck traffic.

The road got its name bec--ause it is 20 miles shorter than taking U.S. 40 and Colorado Highway 131 to travel between Hayden and Oak Creek.

"It's a hugely important regional route that is also being very impacted by the coal hauling," County Commissioner Doug Monger said.

Draper said that Twentymile Coal Co. runs 110 loads of coal daily to the Hayden Station power plant. It runs 26 to 30 coal trucks on the road to other sources.

The legal hauling weight is 25 tons per load.

"There is a lot of truck traffic out there," Draper said.

The majority of the improvement project is being funded through a $1 million Energy Impact Assistance grant and money paid by the coal companies. The coal company has a $1 surcharge for every ton of coal that leaves the mine. The county has been collecting money from the coal company for about three years.

The county will spend about $200,000 out of pocket on the project, Draper said.


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