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Highway 92 access plan update provided

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Representatives from CDOT and Stolfus, the consultant that is conducting the Rogers Mesa SH 92 access control plan study and conceptual design, presented an update during the Board of County Commissioners' Aug. 7 meeting.

The Highway 92 plan is looking at specific access points to the highway that will be incorporated in CDOT roadway improvements when they take place. District #3 County Commissioner Mark Roeber said traffic improvements in the corridor are currently the #2 priority for funding in the Gunnison Valley regional transportation plan. There is not yet funding for construction work. According to CDOT engineer Dan Roussin, the agency's funding/construction time frame for the project is three to five years into the future.

The access control plan is moving toward completion in November. Issues expressed so far by the public were led by sharing access with neighbor (55.5 percent) and access changes from SH 92 to a county road (44.4 percent). Sixty-three percent of respondents supported consolidation of access points in the long-range plan, according to Stolfus. Over half of respondents (56.4 percent) support the interim (3-5 year) access control plan.

The Stolfus report states that CDOT's interim plan implementation currently includes widening shoulders and improving intersections as needed; closing one access point if a property owner has multiple access points; relocating access to side streets (county roads) if possible; and, potentially sharing access with neighbors.

The interim access control plan will reduce 153 access points along the highway to 111 "potential access points" including one public road closure (a portion of J80 Road); 14 field access closures; 12 consolidated accesses to one access per ownership; nine accesses relocated to a side (county) road; and six shared access points.There are also nine relocated access points to improved locations in the interim plan.

The current improvement design based on technical considerations and public input would consist of two, 12-foot traffic lanes each with 6-to 8-foot-wide shoulders. Specific goals in the conceptual design are adding left turn lanes at 3100, 3200 and 3300 Roads; adding a northbound right turn lane at 3100 Road; and realignment of 3300 Road to reduce skew and improve sight distance.

Public input showed that 63 percent of respondents were property owners on SH 92 and 32.6 percent were commuters through Rogers Mesa. Safety was the main concern with 93.3 percent of respondents citing it as of high importance. Over 50 percent cited driveway access and property impacts as important. Respondents also gave high importance to improved road shoulders, left/right turn lanes at county road intersections, and minimization of impacts to irrigation.

The presentation to BoCC focused on several main aspects of the project -- the public information process and feedback; the interim and long-range access plans and their implementation; conceptual design; and the next steps in the process. The Stolfus report stated, "The plan is a living document that can be amended."

The Aug. 7 BoCC session was the second of three planned reports to the county as the access planning process proceeds from its beginning a year ago to its planned conclusion in November.

Stolfus has conducted outreach to the public with two BoCC presentations and a public open house at Hotchkiss High School that attracted 83 participants. Forty-nine comment sheets were completed, and another 10 comments were submitted via the internet. A second public open house is scheduled Aug. 30.

Additional public outreach included 41 people initially contacted for one-on-one meetings, 40 to 50 letters to property owners inviting them to one-on-one meetings, and another 21 one-on-one meetings.

Planners have used hard-copy and web-based public comment tools, direct mail notifications, newspaper advertisements, legal notices, information on the county website and social media, and contacts with town government and chamber of commerce.

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