Photo by John F. Russell
The double set of stripes didn't seem to confuse John Dorman as he rode his bike along Routt County Road 36 on Monday afternoon. The contractor working for Routt County striped the road in the morning, but crews mistakenly striped over the existing 9-foot lines instead of widening the driving lane to 10 feet.
Steamboat Springs The Routt County Road 36 saga continued Monday morning when crews incorrectly re-striped the road.
Citing safety concerns, county commissioners voted 2-1 last month to change the width of the road's lanes through Strawberry Park. They were to be increased from 9 feet to 10 feet, cutting each shoulder from 5 feet to 4 feet.
The decision led to an outcry from cyclists and others who use the shoulder of the road that leads to Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Commissioners Nancy Stahoviak and Doug Monger, who voted for the change, defended the widening.
But then, the company doing the striping, Patriot Highway Markings out of Rifle, repainted the original 9-foot lane markings Monday. After learning of the mistake, the crews painted an additional line at the 10-foot mark, leaving a double white line on each side.
The error resulted from a mix-up, county Road and Bridge Director Paul Draper said. One segment of C.R. 36 was supposed to keep 9-foot-wide lanes, and the lanes in Strawberry Park were supposed to go to 10 feet.
"The part of 36 that's called the Shelf Road was intended to be 9 feet," Draper said. "Once they got into the park, they continued that."
Draper said he was out with crews Wednesday when they first were meant to re-stripe the road. Equipment broke down that day, he said, which pushed the work to Monday. Draper had a meeting and was unable to attend the re-striping.
"That's why I was out there Wednesday - I knew this was going to be confusing," he said. "But we broke down, and that was beyond my control."
Draper said he found out about the error from Stahoviak, who called him on his cell phone. Stahoviak would not comment on the mistake.
"They are not happy," Draper said about the commissioners.
Chip-sealing crews will be out in about three weeks and will cover the 9-foot line, he said.
The county will have to pay for it, but the cost will be negligible, Draper said. Patriot Highway Markings is not charging the county for the extra paint.
"We've created an unintentional buffer, but that inside line will go away," Draper said.
Striping errors have occurred on C.R. 36 in the past. Officials have said that the 9-foot lanes were the result of a striping error in 2006. Speeding cars make the narrower lanes dangerous, Stahoviak and Monger have said.
Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush voted against widening the road. She had little to say about the error Monday afternoon.
"The striper made a mistake," she said. "That happens sometimes."
Monger said only that Road and Bridge staff members were handling the situation adequately.
"It's a little late to be putting blame on whatever, whoever," he said. "We'll do what we need to do to get rid of this illusionary stripe."