Stretch of popular biking highway in Routt County to be resurfaced |

Stretch of popular biking highway in Routt County to be resurfaced

Zach Fridell

Rod Morgan rides his bike on a stretch of Colorado Highway 131 near the intersection with U.S. Highway 40.

— The smooth surfaces along Colorado Highway 131 are going to get a little rougher starting early in September, when a four-mile stretch of road starting at the intersection with U.S. Highway 40 gets a chip-and-seal treatment.

The chip-and-seal project on the highway, which is popular with local road cyclists, will begin Sept. 9. The final road striping is scheduled for Sept. 18.

The Colorado Department of Transportation announced Wed­­nesday that a $1.2 million contract was awarded to United Companies to resurface portions of Colo. 131 and U.S. 40. The work on U.S. 40 is near Taber­­nash and Kremmling.

CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said drivers and bicyclists should be careful after the new chips are put down because they can be thrown up as cars drive on them.

"There will be some loose chips, and they need to heed the lower speed limit and definitely give themselves a generous following distance," she said.

She said crews will sweep the road after the chips are laid, but it could take several weeks until the road has been driven enough times to be worn in.

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Shanks said the project is intended to lengthen the lifespan of the road surface.

She said that while it will be harder on cyclists, chip-and-seal was chosen because it is cheaper than other resurfacing options.

"Yes it is a little tougher on cyclists, of course," she said. "They do need to ride with caution and particularly during the stretch of time between the initial chip-seal operation and the fog coat there could be loose chips."

Routt County Riders bicycle club President Robin Craigen said the road has always been popular, so it's a shame that it will have a chip-and-seal coating.

But he said he understands why that type of surface was chosen.

"Nobody wants to see chip-and-seal, but we accept it as part of budgets being stretched, and they have to make hard choices," he said.

He said the chips tend to amass along the shoulders of the road, where road bikers have to avoid them.

"That's definitely going to make that hard going for anybody on a road bike," he said.

There are alternate routes bet­ween South Routt and Steam­­boat Springs, including Routt County Road 14.

That road often is narrow, but it does provide a smoother ride than the chip-and-seal.

The dates for the resurfacing are tentative and could change as the project progresses.

Work schedule

Schedule from the Colorado Department of Transportation:

Work hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. There will be reduced speed limits of 35 mph during work hours when flaggers are on site and 45 mph during nonwork hours to help reduce broken windshields during the chip-and-seal curing process. There will be a 12-foot-wide load restriction in place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on U.S. Highway 40 between mile markers 170 and 190 (east and west of Kremmling).

The following are the dates and work zones anticipated (weather permitting) for chip-and-seal, fog coat and striping on U.S. 40 and Colorado Highway 131:

■ Aug. 28:  Chip-and-seal on U.S. 40, mile point 220 (west of Tabernash) to MP 212.82 (this work is estimated to take 4 days)

■ Sept. 2: Chip-and-seal on U.S. 40 from MP 190 (east of Kremmling) west through town to MP 179 (three days). No work will occur from Sept. 3 at noon through Sept. 6 for Labor Day.

■ Sept. 9: Chip-and-seal on Colo. 131 from MP 64.56 (south of Steamboat Springs) north to intersection with U.S. 40 at MP 68.53 (two days)

■ Sept. 11: Fog coat on U.S. 40 from MP 223.56 to MP 212.82 (three days)

■ Sept. 14: Fog coat on U.S. 40 from MP 190 to MP 179 (two days)

■ Sept. 16: Fog coat on Colo. 131 from MP 64.56 to MP 68.53 (one day)

■ Sept. 17: Striping on US 40 from MP 223.56 to MP 212.82 (one day)

■ Sept. 18: Striping on U.S. 40 from MP 190 to MP 179.00 (one day)

■ Sept. 18: Striping on Colo. 131 from MP 64.56 to MP 68.53 (one day)

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