Chipped windshields a 'daily occurrence'

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— Motorists speeding though a construction zone on U.S. Highway 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass are kicking up debris and chipping other vehicles' windshields on a daily basis, police say.

The highway is being chip sealed between mile markers 139 and 155. The process leaves loose material on the highway, and the Colorado Department of Transportation is urging motorists to obey the 45 mph speed limit and to leave generous following distances to avoid the potential for chipped windshields. The chip sealing is one of the final steps in the project that involved draining work and resurfacing.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Melissa Fowler said police are patrolling the area and writing tickets for motorists who ignore the speed limit postings. Officers hope to cut down on speeders, especially those who illegally pass other cars and are the cause of many of the chipped windshields.

Nancy Shanks, CDOT spokeswoman, said one driver's windshield was so badly damaged by a passing car Tuesday that the car was unsafe to drive and required immediate repair.

Fowler said fines for speeding are double in the construction zone and noted troopers also can write tickets for reckless driving if the violation is severe enough.

"They shouldn't be passing in this work zone, but they are," Shanks said. "I know it gets frustrating and people are in a hurry, but it's not fair to other motorists and to the workers who are right there."

The project is one month ahead of schedule, with completion expected in early to mid-August. Connell Resources of Fort Collins is constructing the project for $3.2 million. The project information line is (970) 870-0200.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

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