Lightning ‘fries’ broadband tower, CR 8 residents without internet

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RBC | Last week’s stormy weather proved detrimental to the county’s broadband program, as a direct hit to the side of the Pollard tower bypassed the lightning and grounding rod and melted most of the components inside, cutting internet service to 69 residents along County Road 8. The loss of the Pollard tower also affected residents who access the county’s broadband network through the Marvine tower, as the Pollard tower “feeds” Marvine.

As of Wednesday, RBC Communications Director Cody Crooks said the towers should be “back to full operational status” by end of day Friday.


Representatives from the Colorado Department of Transportation and the construction firm hired for the latest project on Hwy. 13—Scott Contracting—attended a work session with the county commissioners and county staff Tuesday for introductions to answer any further questions.

Rio Blanco County Road and Bridge Director Dave Morlan welcomed the group and said he felt confident most of the concerns expressed by the public at the last Meeker meeting had been addressed. 

Morlan asked about the planned use of concrete instead of asphalt on the almost five-mile project, which will include acceleration/deceleration lanes at the intersection of Hwy. 13 and County Road 5. Approximately 1,500 feet of CR 5 asphalt will be replaced with concrete, prompting concerns about maintenance.

“Concrete should last a lot longer than asphalt,” said Tony Roberts, one of the division managers for Scott Contracting. “If you get ahead of the maintenance it should last 20-25 years.” The bid for concrete, which uses local materials and subcontractors,

Clint Moyer, CDOT resident engineer out of Craig, said a recent concrete project north of Craig has been positively received by the public. Concrete is more environmentally friendly, requires less light because it’s more reflective than asphalt, and can be as smooth or smoother than asphalt.

As far as concerns about delays and closures, Roberts said, “Per the specification in the bid, we’re only allowed on very limited basis to close State Hwy. 13 for two hours. It has to happen, guys. There’s some pretty significant box culverts being put in. By the time we put a 250-ton crane in the middle of the road … We don’t want cars driving by that. At no time will we take all access away. There will be plenty of notice as to when these things are going to take place. We’ll make sure if there’s a medical emergency we can get people through.”

Project updates will be sent to various agencies, including Community Counts and the HT. Sheriff Anthony Mazzola asked for information to be shared via established social media accounts for announcements, last minute changes and updates, etc.

To receive email notifications from Community Counts on road closures, livestock moves, energy activity, etc.,  email or call 303-916-4009


RBC Public Health is “fully operational two days a week in each location [Meeker and Rangely],” according to Public Health Nurse Alice Harvey.

To date in June, eight children were vaccinated (uninsured or Medicaid patients); 28 blood pressure checks were performed at Chuckwagon; three high risk Women, Infant and Children program participants were served; and six sexual health clients were served (sexual health includes family planning and sexually transmitted infections).