Highway construction under way south of 'Boat

Commuters from Stagecoach won't be delayed -- yet

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— Work has begun on the reconstruction of a 3.2-mile section of Colorado Highway 131 between Steamboat Springs and Oak Creek.

And for the time being, Stage--coach commuters who use Routt County Road 14 won't experience delays.

Traveling south from Steam--boat, the stretch of highway involved in the construction project begins five miles south of Colo. 131's junction with U.S. Highway 40. The southern end of the project is just beyond Colo. 131's intersection with C.R. 14, which leads to Stagecoach Reservoir State Park.

Nancy Shanks, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said the $5.6 million safety-improvement project will involve widening shoulders on Colo. 131 to the standard 8 feet and repaving the highway.

Construction crews from Connell Resources have begun grading down one of the biggest hills on the road between Steamboat and Oak Creek.

The grading will improve sight distances for motorists, Shanks said. That work has begun on the Oak Creek side of Colo. 131's intersection with C.R. 14.

Commuters from Stagecoach likely won't experience delays until June, Shanks said.

But when construction work hits full stride, motorists can expect to encounter single-lane, alternating traffic and delays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and on some weekends, Shanks said.

There may be as many as three work zones through the length of the project at any given time, Shanks said.

The maximum delay shouldn't be more than 10 minutes, and motorists, in most cases, likely would not experience more than one 10-minute delay during a given trip through the construction zone.

If work at one work zone necessitates a 10-minute delay, the Connell crews are expected to be doing less disruptive work in the other two zones, Shanks said.

"Our resident engineer on the project, Van Pilaud, is very in tune with minimizing the impact on motorists," she said.

Among the goals of the project is improving the safety of intersections with C.R. 14, which don't line up along Colo. 131.

The intersections, including one with C.R. 14E, will be widened and re-striped to include right turn, left turn and through lanes, as well as acceleration/deceleration lanes in both directions.

The information line for the project is 879-9327.


-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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