Routt County Board of Commissioners to reconsider paving | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County Board of Commissioners to reconsider paving

Jack Weinstein

— The Routt County Board of Commissioners next week will reconsider action they took May 24 after a couple of residents expressed concern Tuesday that the commissioners weren't following procedure.

Dori Weiss and Todd Hagenbuch said during public comment that the approval of a chip-and-seal project on a 0.6-mile gravel section of Routt County Road 18 didn't comply with Routt County Road & Bridge Department policies. The gravel section connects with a one-lane dirt road leading to Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area.

The county chip-and-sealed about 1 1/2 miles of C.R. 18 in 2003. A portion of the road was left as gravel.

The policy and procedure document has eight points that should be considered when the county paves a gravel road. Weiss and Hagenbuch questioned whether commissioners considered four of them:

■ "Road improvements must be consistent with the County Road Management System and considered as part of the budget process." The $41,538.50 project was a supplemental budget item.

■ "The average daily traffic count on a county road must be sufficient to justify pavement." It recommends a count of 300 to 500. Road & Bridge Director Paul Draper said the count for that section of road was about 100 in 2003.

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■ "Comparing pavement costs, pavement life and maintenance costs must be more cost effective than the ongoing maintenance of the gravel surface." Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said although it's cheaper to operate a snowplow on paved roads than a road grader on gravel roads, "when you consider all the costs, there is not a cost benefit of doing this project."

■ "Public opinion should be considered prior to paving a gravel road." Sullivan acknowledged he should have gathered nearby homeowners, who are split on the issue, for a public meeting before commissioners took action.

Board Chairwoman Diane Mitsch Bush said Tuesday that she learned about the policy and procedures document for the first time during public comment. She said the county hasn't paved a gravel road since she joined the Board of Commissioners in January 2007.

"I thought to myself, 'If these are indeed our policies, we should reconsider this,'" she said.

Sullivan said the policy and procedures document was drafted after C.R. 18 was chip-and-sealed in 2003, which was paid for through a federal grant.

Commissioners Doug Monger and Nancy Stahoviak voted in favor chip-and-sealing the gravel portion of C.R. 18 on May 24. Mitsch Bush opposed it.

Sullivan said that all commissioners agreed to reconsider their decision but that he didn't know whether they had changed their minds.

Sullivan said the policy and procedures document wasn't presented to commissioners before they took action because he thought chip-and-sealing the gravel portion of the road was a maintenance issue and not a road improvement. Sullivan said he would address the requirements of the document before commissioners meet next week.

Draper said the project, which also includes chip-and-sealing the paved portion of C.R. 18, could begin as early as July 20.

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