Steamboat Springs Construction of a rail spur for Hayden Station could affect traffic on Routt County Road 27 and U.S. Highway 40 this fall.
Xcel Energy started work on the reconstruction of C.R. 27 in July, according to a news release. This year, the utility plans to relocate a piece of C.R. 27, build bridge foundations and abutments, and do earthwork along the spur. Xcel will use the spur, scheduled to be running at the end of 2011, to transport coal to the power plant.
The C.R. 27 work will reduce the road to one lane for six to eight weeks starting this month. Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said he wasn't sure when that would begin.
"It's a possibility at any time during that period, depending on weather and how construction is going," he said.
The construction will occur about half a mile south of U.S. 40 on C.R. 27, also called Twentymile Road. Paul Draper, Routt County Road and Bridge director, said he didn't expect severe traffic jams.
"It's very short, the part that's under construction," Draper said. "So, typically, if they're going to carry traffic, you might have a 20-minute delay, but that's the most I'd anticipate."
Xcel is realigning and building the new road section first before swapping the road to its new route, Draper said.
Drivers who want to avoid the construction can take Routt County Road 51, which goes to Yampa Valley Regional Airport, and hang a left at Routt County Road 51B. That route will deliver them to C.R. 27 south of the rail spur construction.
Crews also are working on bridge abutments along U.S. 40 for a highway overpass, according to the release from Xcel. Lanes will remain open with reduced speed limits. Recreational access to the Yampa River on the north side of U.S. 40 near the Hayden Station pump house has been closed through mid-November, the release stated. It will be closed again from April through September next year.
The access south of U.S. 40 will remain open, according to the release.
The Xcel plan consists of reconstructing an existing rail spur to take coal to the Hayden plant. The project will include railroad bridges over U.S. 40 and Routt County Road 27. Routt County commissioners approved the plans in 2007.