Routt County commissioners to finalize chip-and-seal policy | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County commissioners to finalize chip-and-seal policy

The Routt County Board of Commissioners will host a 5 p.m. public hearing Tuesday to formally sign a resolution limiting the size of the gravel used in chip-and-seal treatments of paved county road to three-eighths of an inch. Above, Routt County Road 14 and its chip-and-seal surface near Dakota Ridge.

Other agenda items

■ 2 p.m. Consider developer’s request to divide 10 duplex lots in Blacktail Meadows in Neighborhoods at Young’s Peak in Stagecoach into 20 single-family home lots. Planning Commission voted to recommend denial on Jan. 19.

■ 3 p.m. Lot consolidation replat for Aspen Heights filing 6

■ 3:30 p.m. Lot consolidation replat for Elkhorn Subdivision filing 5

— Acknowledging that Steamboat Springs has a growing reputation for hosting major competitive and recreational cycling events, the Routt County Board of Commissioners is preparing to put a crunchy issue to rest Tuesday.

The commissioners will host a 5 p.m. public hearing to formally sign a resolution limiting the size of the gravel used in chip-and-seal treatments of paved county road to three-eighths of an inch.

Avid Steamboat cyclist Scott Schlapkohl said the signing of the resolution will be a cause for celebration.

"I'm so happy," he said. "I'm ready to go. Yahoo!"

The intent of the new resolution is to limit the impact of the gravel used in a chip-and-seal overlay on the smoothness of the road surface and, as a result, the cycling experience. The resolution will eliminate the use of larger gravel chips that make the road surface difficult to navigate on the narrow tires of modern road cycles.

One exception to the three-eighths rule would be allowed in instances when a double chip-and-seal is required to maintain a road. In that case, a first course of three-quarter-inch chips topped by a three-eighths-inch chip-and-seal would be allowed.

The county has held public hearings on chip-and-seal gravel since October 2011 after it was brought to the commissioners' attention that chips as large as three-quarters of an inch had been used on Routt County Road 14, a popular cycling route.

Schlapkohl pointed out to the commissioners in November that the Colorado Department of Transportation had standardized on three-eighths-inch chips, leading Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak to ask later in the meeting, "CDOT uses three-eighths everywhere. Why the heck don't we?"

Schlapkohl said Monday that while the smaller gravel will make riding roads like River Road (C.R. 14) and Elk River Road (C.R. 129) more pleasant and safer for cyclists, the greater issue is enhancing the cycling experience for visitors.

"The bigger part is what it offers to cycling tourism," Schlapkohl said. "We have beautiful roads to ride, and we've hosted big events like Ride the Rockies and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, as well as many smaller events. People like our roads, but if they're bumpy they won't come back."

The resolution prepared for the commissioners' signatures by the County Road and Bridge Department points out that "the widespread use of bicycles brings many benefits to a community." "Cycling improves people's health, increases public safety, encourages greater involvement in communities, reduces traffic congestion, improves air quality, reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and generally is better for the environment than alternate methods of travel."

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