The state's road builders at CDOT are dealing with the same problems of keeping the rural traffic ways in good condition as local municipal and county governments are.
"Rural roads are about 50 percent in poor condition," CDOT's Region 3 Transportation Director Dave Eller told the Board of County Commissioners on Nov. 19.
To his comment, Eller added an observation that local officials know well: "Our revenues aren't going in the right direction."
The occasion for the regional report on state roads to the county commissioners was an annual visit and update by CDOT Region 3 staff.
The session repeated themes heard for the past several years at the gatherings: CDOT's 2013 budget of $1.2 billion is $400 million less than it was in 2010, Eller said. One of the main reasons for that decline is the decrease in state gasoline tax funding for roads. More fuel efficient vehicles on the state's highways means fewer gallons of fuel purchased and less in gasoline tax revenue flowing into CDOT programs.
Receipts for federal gasoline taxes are also declining.
As a result of the lower funding levels, CDOT has responded by cutting back on "capacity improvements." That means there is less construction of new traffic lanes. But in addition to that, "Maintenance of (existing) roadway conditions has slipped also," Eller told the BoCC. And as a result of that slippage, more of the rural roads that Delta County and Western Colorado drivers use are in increasingly poorer condition.
The CDOT officials told commissioners that recent improvements to the Highway 50/92 intersection in Delta were privately funded as an access permit requirement by a new convenience store and fuel stop being built there.
The Highway 50 four-lane project from Delta to Grand Junction completed several years ago was paid for with a special bond approved by state voters. There are still $168 million in those road bonds to be paid off, and officials are already looking at ways to put that debt service money to work when the bonds are retired in 2017.
The improvements on Hightway 92 between Austin and Sulfur Gulch completed in 2009 and 2010 were paid for by a special federal funding for "shovel ready" projects. Without the special funding for those two road building enterprises, they would not have been completed when they were.
Nevertheless, CDOT is moving forward with design and other work on future construction projects that when completed will be noticed by Delta County drivers.
• Construction of a grade separated rail road overpass on SH 92 at Stengel's Hill is in the final stages of design, and plans are being reviewed by the rail road. The total project is estimated in the $11 million to $12 million range.
The CDOT staff said the project is ready to advertise for bid and that construction could take one or two seasons beginning in 2014.
• Improvements to the intersection at SH 92/65. Work would include construction of an eastbound median acceleration lane on SH 92.
• State Highway 92 improvements across Rogers Mesa. The project "will design and build a reconstruction and shoulder widening project on SH 92 over Rogers Mesa. The corridor has been surveyed and funding has been allocated to begin preliminary engineering," CDOT reports.
• Slide repair and mitigation work at the top of McClure Pass in Gunnison County is also on CDOT's priorities list.
• The Town of Cedaredge is anticipating an improvement at the intersection of its Main Street and SH 65. The town is paying a $51,000 match to receive $205,000 in CDOT "enhancement" funding for beautification work.
• Rockfall mitigation work on SH 133 at Paonia Reservoir is scheduled to begin the fall of 2013.
• Hotchkiss has been slated for $329,000 funding with an $81,750 match for a bike and pedestrian trail, also from enhancement funds.
• The City of Delta is looking towards a $328,000 enhancement grant with an $82,000 matching local contribution for a city welcome center.
While new construction and lane building can be delayed until funds become available, maintenance is an ongoing and expensive chore. In 2011, CDOT spent almost $1 million on maintenance activities in Delta County. Heading that list as always is snow and ice removal/control that cost $339,000. CDOT's snow removal operations cost $6.92 per mile plowed.
Other items on CDOT's maintenance check list for the county are the following ones: Roadway surface $252,000; roadside facilities $133,000; traffic services $90,135; roadside appearance $57,132; and, structure maintenance $19,890.
State road crews have been working towards achieving several goals during 2012. They are patching work on SH 348; machine patching between Hotchkiss and Crawford in various locations; partnering with county weed sprayers on targeting noxious weeds; and, tree trimming on Hotchkiss Hill (SH 133 east of town).blog comments powered by Disqus