It’s no secret that traffic on G50 Road has increased over the past couple of years. An overabundance of travelers from Grand Junction to Montrose have been accessing the county road west of Delta hoping to shave time off their commute.
The popular shortcut takes travelers south from U.S Highway 50 onto G50 Road, a narrow two lane county road. Most of the road is double stripped to keep drivers from passing; however, it offers a generous 50 mile per hour speed limit through hills, winding roads and scenic farm land.
G50 Road eventually connects to G Road at a precarious “Y” intersection sitting at the crest of a steep hill. Drivers going to Montrose head east on G Road and then connect with Confluence Drive where they again head south to connect with Highway 50. Once on G Road the speed limit tapers down to 40 miles per hour at Deer Run Road and then to 30 miles per hour just before it snakes down into Delta via several sharp “S” curves.
It’s the mixture of increased traffic and speed on the winding road that prompted Myron and Jeanne Anduri to bring their concerns before Delta County Board of County Commissioners during a special meeting on Aug. 31 as part of the public comment.
Jeanne Anduri said she spoke to commissioners last year about her concerns regarding the traffic on G Road. At that time, she requested that a sign be placed to slow traffic down.
“It’s quite dangerous and it appears that 30 miles per hour that happens over the ride, that’s right close to our house, does not get acknowledged. We talked about this before and I know that some of our neighbors have also brought complaints,” she told the board.
To make matters worse, Google Maps is directing drivers off U.S Highway 50 onto the rural county road ballooning the amount of traffic. Anduri said the problem has become so bad that neighbors are afraid to pick up their mail.
“When I am standing at the mailbox and traffic is whizzing by and they’re coming up over the hill, they’re not aware that somebody’s standing on the road,” she said.
“I am also aware of neighbors, elderly people, who live on the other side of the road don’t go get their mail. They have to have family members come a couple of times a week to get their mail because it is too dangerous to cross the road now,” she told the board.
“I am just encouraging and asking that something be done, a flashing sign, something to slow traffic down,” she said, adding that she’s witnessed a lack of law enforcement patrolling the area.
Anduri said drivers who are using the shortcut often “come up and get on my tail right away and are honking at me” when she pulls onto the road. She also mentioned the added safety concerns in the winter for drivers and school buses especially at the “S” curve.
Myron Anduri added that increased traffic on G Road is not due to local drivers and complained that the road is not primarily servicing county residents.
“This is providing a service from Mesa County to Montrose County and back. The question we have to ask ourselves as Delta County is ‘why are we doing this?’ We have a highway, that’s what the highway is for,” he said.
One problem has been the significant number of trucks and over the road haulers using the road. Anduri said commercial drivers are often required by trucking companies to use the route recommended by Google Maps. He said other towns around America are having the same problem with Google Maps routing traffic onto smaller roads.
“There’s no reason any commercial trucks should be going down G Road and half of them probably don’t want to anyway,” he said, adding that drivers aren’t saving time by taking the shortcut.
He recommended that the county reduce the speed limit or close the entrance from the highway, making it accessible to local traffic only. The goal, he said, would be to decentivize people from using G Road, especially commercial trucks that are traveling at higher speeds.
“This has been a topic of discussion now for a couple of years. We’re working on some signage on the by-pass to try and push more people to stay on the highway than getting on that road so, we’re working on it but fighting Google is a losing battle. We’re still trying to get that changed,” replied Commissioner Don Suppes.
Myron Anduri pushed back telling commissioners, “If you don’t do it now it will be harder and harder with time because it becomes more and more of a thoroughfare. Now’s the time, it’s still a county road. It’s still in our purview to do that. I think it’s time for a bold decision.”
“There’s no reason we can’t close that road, make it different. It’s within our power, it’s Delta County, it’s not a state highway,” he concluded.
(The story stated that truck drivers are required by law to follow routes given by Google. That statement has been corrected as of Sept. 13)