Garfield County hopes to reopen Harvey Gap Road in early November |

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Garfield County hopes to reopen Harvey Gap Road in early November

A culvert is installed under the Harvey Gap Road north of Silt.

A culvert is installed under the Harvey Gap Road north of Silt.

If repairs go as planned, Harvey Gap Road, which has been closed since late August, could reopen in early November.

In an update to Garfield County commissioners Monday, Deb Fiscus, road and bridge director, said the large undertaking of rebuilding the road is tracking nicely.

Harvey Gap Road, which connects Silt to Harvey Gap State Park and area residences, has been closed since underlying saturation caused a partial collapse of a section of the road Aug. 21.

Early on in the process officials said they could not confirm the source of the water, but core samples determined it had seeped from a ditch that ran alongside the road.

Commissioner John Martin stated the need to relay that information to the public in order to dispel what he characterized as rumors about the source of the water that were circulating in the community. A possible leak in the Harvey Gap dam was one of the unfounded claims generated by the “rumor mill,” Martin said.

The Silt Water Conservancy District has since realigned that ditch.

The initial collapse and ensuing closure sparked concerns from residents north of the damaged portion of road. Those residents worried about a delay in emergency services response time, along with concerns about other impacts.

Asked by Martin if there had been any security or emergency issues, Fiscus said “no.” She added that road and bridge is communicating with emergency responders to update them on the repairs.

Deemed an emergency by county commissioners in early September, county staff and contractors with SGM have worked with stakeholders to try and reopen the road before winter firmly settles in.

While stating Monday that the road closure was a “minor emergency,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said, “it would be awful if that road were closed all winter, so thank you for getting this done.”

There are many elements to the project, but Fiscus said they expect to have the road open in the first part of November. As she explained Monday, there are three different aspects of the project all running at the same time: engineering and design, construction and obtaining the necessary right of way to realign the road west of its current alignment.

“And it’s all going very well,” she said.

The team working on the project has finished preparation to excavate the wet dirt below the section of road, which is necessary to rebuild the road base, according to a press release from the county. The preparation included removal of the asphalt and repair of an unrelated drainage culvert nearby.

Excavation of the soil is expected to take approximately one week, depending on weather and the depth of saturation, which is still unknown.

Crews will use rocks, boulders, dry soil and construction fabric to rebuild the road, according to the county. Road and bridge intends to use as much on-site material to rebuild the road.

The county is in the final stages of negotiating with affected landowners in order to obtain the necessary right of way to realign the road.

“I think they’ve been very generous and very willing to work with us to get that thing going,” Martin said Monday.

The county has yet to release a preliminary cost estimate.