The Colorado Department of Transportation's highly anticipated resurfacing and widening project on U.S. Highway 6 between Eagle and Wolcott, which will be completed in partnership with Eagle County, is expected to begin in 2012.
While CDOT had hoped the work would take place this fall, the contractor bids received for the project were rejected and bids will be reopened in early 2012 for new estimates.
"Normally we don't send out public notifications for rejected bids but we've heard so much from the public about this project," said CDOT spokesperson Ashley Mohr.
"We are certainly disappointed that we were unable to complete the project this year," said CDOT Resident Engineer Martha Miller. "We realize that both motorists and cyclists alike have been looking forward to its completion for some time. However, since Colorado state law dictates that CDOT only accept project bids within 10 percent of engineering estimates when there are less than three bids, we have to re-advertise the project to obtain new bids and have adjusted our engineering estimates to meet current market conditions."
The project is the third phase of a partnership between CDOT and Eagle County to widen shoulders and resurface U.S. 6 between Wolcott and Eagle. Eagle County Commissioner Jon Stavney said it will contribute to safer conditions for drivers and cyclists, which will enhance the recreational atmosphere in the area.
"We do want to define ourselves as recreation/bike-friendly - I think the USA Pro Cycling Challenge showed how important that was this summer," Stavney said. "We want to bring people back, but we also want to have safe roads and it's really difficult in certain stretches to provide that right now."
The estimated $2.5 million project ($1 million of which was provided by Eagle County) will include shoulder widening - from non-existent shoulders to two-foot shoulders - and an asphalt overlay of U.S. 6 between mile marker 153 and MM 158, about six miles west of Eagle to a mile east of Wolcott, which is at MM 159. Work will also include grading, drainage and resurfacing improvements at the parking lot located south of Interstate 70 at the Wolcott interchange.
The project was initially advertised in July 2011 for fall 2011 construction. However contractor bids were rejected based on Colorado House Bill 99-1031, which mandates the rejection of bids when only two bids are submitted and when bids exceed the engineer's estimate by more than 10 percent.
Two earlier phases of the project have already been completed, including one finished in 2009 to improve a section of U.S. 6 east of Wolcott. The $2.5 million project - $1 million of which was provided by Eagle County for shoulders - widened the shoulders to two feet and resurfaced the highway between MM 158 (east of Wolcott) to MM 163.
The first phase of the project was completed in 2008, which widened and resurfaced a section of U.S. 6 east of Eagle between MM 151 and MM 153 for a contract amount $722,341.
Mohr said public comment is responsible for bringing this project to the table.
"This was an instance where there was constant and consistent feedback to the county commissioners, who then came to us," she said. "We looked into it and saw that they made some good points about safety and the project became a priority of ours."
- Enterprise reporter Derek Franz contributed to this report.