Dialing up Northwest Colorado's transportation future

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Listening in

If you don’t receive a call from CDOT inviting you to take part in the 7 to 8 p.m. May 13 Telephone Town Hall Meeting, but wish to take part, call 1-877-229-8493 and use the PIN number 112034.

You will have a chance to pose a question in advance and a monitor will display it for Department of Transportation officials and public representatives. If your question isn’t answered because of call volume, you’ll be given an email address to send it in.

More information can be found at www.coloradotransportationmatters.com.

— Don’t hang up if you get a phone call from a stranger right after the dinner hour May 13. It’s just your friendly Colorado Department of Transportation calling to invite you to take part in a telephonic town hall meeting. It's part of the ongoing effort to develop a new statewide transportation plan.

Former Steamboat Springs City Council member Kathy Connell, who represents Northwest Colorado on the state highway commission, said the mass conference calls have proven wildly successful.

“It’s been an amazing way to reach people,” she said. “For example, nobody came to the recent meetings on Colorado Highway 36 (privatization of the Boulder Turnpike) but we had 3,000 to 5,000 listening. I was on a town hall about the second twin tunnel (on I-70 near Idaho Springs) and we had 4,000 people listening.”

Routt County Commissioner Steve Ivancie is expected to join Connell on the Telephone Town Hall (TTH) meeting, which will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. Ivancie sits on the board of CDOT’s Northwest Transportation Region 12 comprising Moffat, Rio Blanco, Jackson and Grand counties as well as Routt. It’s one of 15 across the state.

Ivancie said this week that TTH will be automatically calling a significant number of people in Region 12 on May 13 to invite their participation. He likened the TTH to a radio talk show that’s focused on transportation.

CDOT officials said they came up with the idea of hosting the mass telephone calls to reach people who don’t have the time or inclination to attend a public hearing on the statewide transportation outside the home.

Connell said moderators will record the questions of callers that route them to the public representatives and CDOT officials.

Ivancie added that Routt County callers might ask about the future of the uncompleted Colorado Highway 131 widening project through Oak Creek Canyon.

Connell said her challenge on the highway commission involves persuading representatives of more densely populated areas where highways have greater traffic counts that volume isn’t the only measure of a highway’s importance.

“I’m fighting that battle constantly,” Connell said. “Forty-three percent of sales tax coming into the state comes from tourism. The point is we are not like a lot of other states where people just happen to drive through. People come here to recreate and spend money. Our rural roads, just because we don’t have volume doesn’t mean they aren’t primary roads.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

Comments

Scott Wedel 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't know if 131 through Oak Creek canyon needs the sort of widening and straightening that was done on the previous hwy projects on 131, but the remaining section certainly has the most accidents.

Hopefully, it doesn't require a fatal accident to prioritize making the road safer. The dangerous section is the horseshoe turn. It isn't just the turn itself, but the slope in and out of the turn. The south side of it is in the shade and typically icy during the winter. I've seen cars lose it braking to slow down into the turn, lose it accelerating up the hill as well as sliding out in the turn itself.

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Pat West 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Instead of asking about funding more of CO-131, I would ask about the $45 million that's due to be spent on the safety of elk on 12 miles of CO-9 outside of Kremmling. Asking drivers to slow down instead of spending money to make underpasses for them would free up enough money to fix CO-131, or paint bike lanes onto US-40 from Walton Creek rd, to 3rd street, or put retaining walls onto west US-40 by Snowbowl to hold back the debris that fills the shoulder, and falls onto the roadway.

The I-70 twin tunnels project is $110million, and we are going to spend a little less than 1/2 of that to provide safe passage for elk? In my opinion, that's mismanagement of resources, and it's being done because of political influence from a billionaire, not to address a safety issue. CO-131 has been a priority for many years yet this project was thought up, got support from Summit, and Grand county cominishneers, and C-dot in less than one year? Nice to be a billionaire and have people act quickly on your desires. Sorry Oak Creek.

Keep in mind that this is $4,000,000+ per mile and the new bridge over the Elk river cost $5,000,000, so this 12mile section is the equilivilant of 9 new bridges around the state, or replacing downtown Steamboats concrete 2 times ($20,000,000), or fixing RCR14, 6 times ($7,000,000).

It's too bad Oak Creek dosn't have a Billionaire to "advocate" for a safer 131, or it would already be funded.

I hope they call my house, I have lots of questions for the board.

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Scott Wedel 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I think the bridges for elk is because people have crashed into wildlife. So it is mostly to protect drivers and not protect the elk.

But that goes back to the issue that it seems to require deaths on what is well known to be a dangerous road before often long delayed projects are started. The horseshoe section of 131 has long been a dangerous section with vehicles frequently losing control. Many times they are then pulled from a snowbank without any official police report. But sometimes they veer into an oncoming vehicle and there is a nasty crash.

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mark hartless 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The new Elk River Bridge was not necessary either. It ranked just 1% under the threshold for repair vs not repair. and those numbers were cooked.

However, the bigger question is how much infrastructure there is to be repaired while we put gadgets on busses...

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Pat West 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Right Hartless, that is my point, lots of failing infrastructure. Nothing wrong with the road between Kremmling and Silverthorn that reduced speed, and driver responsibility cannot solve.

What is the opportunity cost of this $45,000,000 elk safety project, or the $85,000 bus GPS? Does anyone in government understand the concept of opportunity cost when deciding how to spend tax funds? Or is it all pandering to fat cats for campaign contribititions?

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