Latest Colorado Highway 13 project north of Rifle unveiled

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— Motorists in Routt and Moffat counties who frequently drive Colorado Highway 13 south from Craig to Meeker and Interstate 70 at Rifle will be pleased to hear that the next round of improvements to the busy two-lane highway will include several new northbound climbing lanes in the 12-mile stretch north of Rifle.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks reported this week that no date has been set for the beginning of the latest phase of the highway improvements, but an open house to introduce the project has been scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. July 16 at the Rifle Public Library, 207 East Ave.

Residents of Steamboat, Hayden and Craig often use Colo. 13 to begin a journey to take part in youth sports in Grand Junction, mountain bike in Fruita, explore Utah’s canyon country or travel to Las Vegas.

The improvements to the highway include straightening, wider shoulders, rumble strips and about 12 wildlife underpasses designed to accommodate deer and elk.

Colo. 13 has seen increasing numbers of large trucks in the past decade traveling the route from Rifle north through Craig all the way to Wyoming and Interstate 80. Past improvements to the highway south of Meeker have made the roadway safer and easier to drive.

In October 2012, CDOT announced completing a 2-mile stretch of improvement to Colo. 13 that cost $4.9 million and required 16,000 manhours and 19,430 tons of hot-mix asphalt.

Interested motorists can receive email or text alerts about highway conditions in a chosen area, including the construction on U.S. Highway 40 on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass, by visiting www.coloradodot.info. Or for updated travel conditions across the state, visit CDOT’s Cotrip page.

Right now, motorists can expect delays of less than 15 minutes between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on U.S. 40 above Muddy Pass while construction on a new retaining wall gets underway.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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