Road work season starts in earnest
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Warmer weather brings blooming flowers, singing birds – and road construction.May is generally the month when road projects kick into gear in the high country, and there are a number of projects that may delay drivers this season.In the valley, the Colorado Department of Transportation has projects going on both U.S. Highway 6 & 24 and Interstate 70.The I-70 work in the county is a paving and safety improvement project between Gypsum and Dotsero. The work includes guardrail replacements and extensions, rail replacement on nine bridges and bridge deck repairs on one bridge.Work will take place Monday through Friday on that project, but drivers can expect occasional 15-minute delays, and traffic will sometimes be choked down to just one lane in each direction.”We try to work Monday through Friday on the Interstate, and try to pull out early on Fridays,” said department spokesman Bob Wilson. The state is also preparing for a fall project at Dotsero, the replacement of a 1930s-vintage bridge on Highway 6.East of Eagle, the project to replace the Highway 6 bridge just east of town is nearly complete. But the third and final leg of a project to repave and add shoulders to Highway 6 between Eagle and Wolcott will start this year. Eagle County has put $1 million into that project, which should make that stretch of road more safe for bicyclists and motorists.In the upper valley, Xcel Energy is expected to do some re-paving work along Highway 6. Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said the work, which is expected to be complete by the end of June, will cover areas that received temporary paving work last fall. The new work will be more permanent, but Stutz said crews won’t move in until daytime highs are consistently in the 50s, so the new paving work will set properly.East of Vail, the biggest project will be several months worth of landslide mitigation near the Eisenhower Johnson Tunnels. More rockfall mitigation is planned near Georgetown. Going north, there’s road work on State Highway 131 south of Steamboat Springs, and a bridge replacement project on Highway 24 south of Leadville.Wilson said there are more than 150 road projects going on across Colorado this year. Most of those have to take place between spring and fall, especially in the high country.Nancy Shanks, who handles the transportation department’s public affairs in other parts of western Colorado, said with that amount of work going on across the state, travelers should be aware of what projects may be going on along their routes.Shanks said that in addition to checking the department’s website, motorists can also sign up for department alerts via either email or text message.Aside from leaving a few minutes early, and slowing down in work zones, Shanks said using the alert system might be “the best thing a seasoned traveler can do.”Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or email@example.com.