Campbell to seek Highway 133 funds |

Campbell to seek Highway 133 funds

Faced with a grim outlook for receiving state funding for Highway 133 improvements anytime soon, Carbondale leaders are now seeking money directly from the federal government.

During U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell’s visit to Carbondale Thursday, Carbondale Mayor Randy Vanderhurst said he discussed the possibility of securing U.S. Forest Service Scenic Byway funding to help pay for the road improvements.

“The scenic byways have funds through the U.S. Forest Service and they usually use that money for things like rest stops and things like that along a scenic corridor,” Vanderhurst explained.

“But the fact that Carbondale is both the entry and exit of the West Elk Scenic Loop indicates that there’s a possibility to tap into some of that money,” the mayor added.

After talking to Campbell, R-Colo., about the idea, Vanderhurst said the senator pledged his support.

“It wouldn’t certainly be the total amount for 133, but it would be a funding source that’s innovative,” Vanderhurst said.

Town leaders have been seeking funds to pay for the revamping of the intersection at highways 82 and 133. They are looking at building a new bridge over the Roaring Fork River and four-laning Highway 133 from Highway 82 south for 1.9 miles.

Colorado Department of Transportation funding from a source known as the Seventh Pot was sought.

But when the Intermountain Transportation Planning Region released a preliminary categorization of projects and their relative importance to the statewide highway system as a whole, Carbondale’s proposed project ranked low.

Carbondale’s was categorized as a project that does not appear to meet the ground rules or warrant 2003 Strategic Investment Plan consideration.

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