At their April 2 meeting, county commissioners Don Suppes and Mike Lane were joined by 10 representatives from CDOT for a discussion of current and future CDOT projects. Commissioner Mark Roeber was away on Colorado Counties, Inc. business.
CDOT representatives present were Region 3 director Mike Goolsby, Region 3 regional planning manager Mike Rogers, Mesa County Commissioner District 7 Kathy Hall, program engineer Jason Smith, Region 3 traffic and safety, Mark Bunnell, planning and environmental manager Dave Cezark, chairman of the Gunnison Valley Transportation Region Vince Rogalski, Region 3 Montrose resident engineer Raelene Shelly, deputy maintenance superintendent Gage Steggart and Montrose area maintenance supervisor Eric Langford.
Funding for CDOT projects was the first issue discussed. Kathy Hall said the Colorado Senate put through $106 million additional funding to go into transportation; however, the money may not stay in the budget, and $106 million is not a lot of money when you are talking about transportation.
Mike Goolsby said that CDOT revenue is stagnant and the Highway User Tax Funds (HUTF) are being reduced due to more fuel efficient and electric vehicles.
Mike Rogers encouraged local agencies to apply for TAP grants, a source of funding for alternative transportation programs, which will be available sometime in May. He encouraged agencies to have projects that CDOT can look at. He said the maximum grant is $1.2 million, which requires a 20 percent local match.
Commissioner Suppes said the Gunnison River Bridge has been a top priority in Delta County since CDOT's weight limit changed. Heavy traffic which cannot now use the bridge is using county roads that are not designed for heavy traffic. The commissioners sent a letter a few weeks ago to get this bridge moved to the top of the list.
Jason Smith said this project does qualify and it did jump up in priority but it will take CDOT a little time to get it planned, designed and delivered. The restrictions will have to remain in place for the next couple of years.
Delta Road and Bridge foreman Larry Record said CDOT's closing of Hwy. 50 for the Blue Creek project next year is concerning, as it will kick more traffic this way, and Smith said there will be a length restriction that may limit some loading and hopefully encourage the heavier loads and longer loads to go around the Pitkin route.
Record also drew attention to the intersection of H75 and Highway 92, which is handling a lot of traffic. County engineering coordinator Bob Basher added that truckers have to look over their shoulder to the right to get on the highway, and it is difficult for them to see.
Mike Goolsby said CDOT is trying to set up a separate meeting and this item will be added to that conversation.
Jason Smith reviewed the Hwy. 50 and Hwy. 92 project in Delta. The project will go out for advertisement, a contractor will be selected and the work will begin in the spring. Commissioner Suppes said he has spoken with Raelene Shelly about this several times and he would really like a turn lane for northbound Hwy. 50.
Smith reviewed the Hwy 50 North Delta and South Delta phases of ADA ramps, which are coming to a close. He said Raelene's team has worked hard on this project. The ramps take a lot of time commitment because they are so detailed. Smith said these are the first ADA projects in our region and they've been a learning curve.
City of Delta public works director Betsy Suerth praised Shelly's group for working with the city on several projects this summer, including the ADA ramp project and gearing up for the intersection improvements.
Smith reviewed the Hwy. 92 and Hwy. 133 chip seal project, which was not on their plan originally. They were able to advance the project because of the Hwy. 50 project coming up next year. They did not want to have both projects going on at the same time.
Commissioner Suppes spoke of the serious shoulder safety concern across Rogers Mesa. Shelly said they may be able to get maintenance to do some touchup, that they are working on a design for that corridor.
Commissioner Suppes reiterated that the county's greatest concerns are the Austin Bridge and Rogers Mesa, both of which have been discussed at TRP for a long time and they have not left Delta County's radar.
Greg Brinck, town administrator of Cedaredge, asked if CDOT asked about a pilot program with Road Usage Charge and Alternative Funding, and Crawford public works director Bruce Bair said he would like CDOT to take a closer look at Crawford. The highway is curvy and people consistently speed through town. The shoulders are pretty beat up and there is a lot of heaving and moisture. Bair said the town needs help with drainage water, sidewalks, rock walls and handling ADA ramps and crosswalks.