The conceptual design and final report for the Rogers Mesa Access Control Plan (ACP), prepared by Stolfus and Associates in close cooperation with Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), has been approved by county commissioners Doug Atchley, Mark Roeber and Don Suppes. They entered into an intergovernmental agreement with CDOT at their Dec. 18 meeting, accepting the ACP.
In the discussion of the ACP, Dan Roussin represented CDOT; Michelle Hansen and Jenna Siegel represented Stolfus and Associates; and Ralph Clark, Road and Bridge District 3, attended on behalf of the county.
The CO-92 Rogers Mesa Access Control Plan and Conceptual Design begins at Hidden Springs Road and ends at the Union Pacific railroad crossing. The plan will be implemented as two parts of a long-range plan.
In the interim and conceptual design, elements of the long-range plan that are compatible with existing land uses will be implemented, creating consistency between long-term planning efforts and short-term needs.
The interim plan will develop and change as the project moves forward. Changes will be coordinated with the county, CDOT and property owners as they develop.
The long-range plan will be implemented as changes occur in the county that require needed changes. Redevelopment that increases traffic by 20 percent or more will require changes. Safety or operational issues could necessitate changes also.
Currently there are 153 existing access points in the ACP. These could be reduced to 114 access points through one public road closure (J80 Road); 13 field access closures; 12 consolidated accesses to one access per ownership; nine accesses relocated to side roads; and four shared access points.
Nine access points could be relocated to improved locations.
Hansen said alternative local routes could reduce dependence on the highway, reduce demand at high demand intersections and provide alternative routes if the highway is closed.
She noted that the county controls local alternative routes, not CDOT.
Stolfus and Associates have attempted public outreach in several ways. Stolfus held three meetings with the Delta County Commissioners. They held two open houses. On April 5,
83 people attended the open house at Hotchkiss High School. On Aug. 30, 57 people attended another open house at Hotchkiss High School and 56 comments were received. They have held 46 one-on-one meetings. Eleven comments have been received through a web-based interactive map.
Commissioner Atchley asked how the Rogers Mesa Access Control Plan could be amended. Hansen said the ACP requires no financial commitments, imposes no financial obligations. The ACP will be shared with the County and CDOT as it progresses.
Roussin said that if CDOT changes access during the progression of the ACP the property owners in question will be notified.
"This is a long-term project, a three- to five-year process," he said. "There is a lot of stuff going on up there."
Atchley asked, "What happens if we don't agree with proposed changes?"
Hansen replied, "If things go sideways, the agreement provides for termination. We will go back to the CDOT highway code."
Roussin said, "If we do Rogers Mesa it will open the eyes of right-of-way folks, and to all the other issues out there. This is an excellent project and in the long run will save CDOT money. We are trying to do things right up there so future landowners will come talk to us first."
Commissioner Suppes said, "This project has been a good exercise for our constituents. Kudos to you all for a good project and good communications."
"It's a good project," Commissioner Roeber added, "You have gone over and above in making access safer."
Atchley asked about the irrigation system, noting that it goes everywhere in that area.
Hansen said that will be the next design. "We need to know what is out there, that the water is going to the right places. That is the larger piece of our next design."
CDOT is expected to adopt the access control plan within four to six weeks.