Steamboat Springs Routt County commissioners took action on the Cog Road on Tuesday.
Routt County Road 76 slides nearly every year on a hillside about three miles north of Hayden. Road residents have complained for months about this year's particularly damaging slide. The county has blocked off the outside lane and filled the slide area with gravel.
"We haven't seen that kind of a slide since I've been up here," said Tina Hayes, who has lived off the road for five years.
The three county commissioners unanimously approved a contract Tuesday with Yeh and Associates, which will do a geotechnical investigation of the slide and a geotechnical design of possible fixes. Yeh performed an engineering study on the slide when it was repaired in 1999.
"I'm pleased to see that there's some concrete action, no pun intended," said Lynda Vaillancourt, who lives off the Cog Road. "And that has been our concern all along, that they told us they were going to do these things. : That was wonderful."
The study and design are budgeted for up to $83,600.
"What they're going to be doing is some investigating work and then coming to us with recommendations," Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. "Those recommendations might include some things we can do this year to make some fixes in case we have a spring next year like we had this year - so we can stabilize it before we get the long-term fixes in."
The long-term repairs would come next summer, Stahoviak said.
The agreement states that Yeh and Associates will "initiate the field investigation within seven days of being given notice to proceed, assuming the drilling contractor's availability." The drilling contractor will provide services for the investigation and instrument installation.
After it receives notice to proceed, Yeh stated, it aims to have preliminary recommendations from the investigation within two weeks and final recommendations within five weeks. Once the county decides how it wants to fix the slide in the long term, Yeh wrote that it could finish the final design work in two to six weeks. The company aims to complete everything by Oct. 31.
"This would start tomorrow if you were to sign this," Heather McLaughlin, senior engineer for Routt County Road and Bridge, told the commissioners Tuesday.
Any work done this summer would be a preliminary fix, and the county would plan on a more permanent fix for next year, Stahoviak said. The $83,600 budget does not include any short- or long-term repair work. That would have to be paid for separately, Stahoviak said.
Possible fixes for the slide include drilled shafts, lightweight fill, reinforced slopes and drainage systems. Stahoviak noted that creative solutions might be possible.
"One of the questions people asked at our meeting in Hayden was, 'If you already have the engineering study, why do you need to do more work?'" Stahoviak said. "That study is almost 10 years old. There might be some new and innovative things to look at."
Vaillancourt said she was glad there would be action in the coming weeks.
"We understand there are budget constraints and time constraints, but if they don't get something started this summer, who knows what it's going to be like next spring?" she said.
Brandon Gee also contributed to this report.
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