Fears over Hwy. 13 closure unfounded

RBC | Fears that State Highway 13 might be closed two hours per day during this summer’s road construction project are unfounded, according to Clint Moyer, Region 3 resident engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Concerns shared with the Herald Times and other area residents last Wednesday via email were deemed inaccurate by Moyer at the start of a public meeting with the Rio Blanco County Commissioners Monday.

According to CDOT Region 3 communications manager Tracy Trulove, the commissioners meet periodically with representatives from CDOT, but neither she nor Moyer were aware that Monday’s meeting had been announced to the public, or that citizens had been invited to attend until early Monday.

According to Moyer, contractors working on improvements to Hwy. 13 between Meeker and Rifle do not intend to close the highway for two hours per day this summer, nor is County Road 5 being considered as a viable detour. Trulove said CDOT does not generally consider using county roads for highway detours.

At most, according to Moyer, the highway may be closed briefly at night during construction of three deep culverts. The culverts will require the use of a crane that will block most of the road. Single-lane closures during the day are anticipated to last a maximum of 30 minutes. Moyer said CDOT will begin sharing information with the HT directly as details are finalized and plans are implemented.

County EMS representatives in attendance were asked about emergency access and were told a lane would be available for emergencies.

The original intent of the meeting between CDOT and the commissioners was to provide an update on CDOT’s 2019 projects, funding, and introduce a statewide transportation conversation to create a new 10-year plan of priority transportation projects. Colorado residents are asked to visit YourTransportationPlan.com to provide input on the transportation trends and issues that impact them the most. CDOT is planning to visit all 64 Colorado counties, host telephone town halls and attend community events to get that feedback.

As a number of citizens attended Monday’s meeting out of concerns about Hwy. 13, they were able to share their input in person, expressing concerns about the addition of portable toilets during construction projects, installing traffic cameras on Douglas Pass, improving signage along Hwy. 13 to notify drivers when a passing zone is coming up, and working with CDOT in Meeker for crosswalks to improve pedestrian safety. Residents are encouraged to add their own thoughts about Colorado’s transportation via YourTransportationPlan.com.

The current project on Hwy. 13 involves reconstructing and widening approximately five miles of road starting at mile marker 16. The work will take two seasons, with estimated completion in November 2020.

By Niki Turner | editor@ht1885.com

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