Commissioners consider shortening Four Mile construction zone
In the face of continued complaints about traffic delays and lowered speed limits, the Garfield County Commissioners are considering shortening the strung-out construction zone along Four Mile Road.Monday, the commissioners agreed to move the beginning of the 2.8-mile zone, which extends to Dry Park Road, from Four Mile Road’s intersection with Midland Avenue to mile marker one, at Four Mile Ranch. The new zone will not take effect until the commissioners approve a formal resolution, which could happen in the next few weeks.The new, shorter construction zone would still carry a 25-mph speed limit, but would reduce the distance that speed limit would be in effect.Construction on the roadway stems from a subdivision expansion in Dry Park and the necessity to connect to city sewer.Problems have plagued the project since last year when the contractor, Tarco Inc., ran into utility lines that weren’t where they were supposed to be. Then they hit solid rock in the trench, and that slowed down things even more.Weather caught up with the project in October and the commissioners granted Tarco an extension to finish up this spring. Work must be completed by June 30.Since resuming construction in March, complaints have been coming in to the commissioners about the lowered speed limit – from 35 to 25 miles per hour – in the construction zone that extends from the beginning of Four Mile Road to Dry Park Road.Commissioner Trési Houpt, who lives off Four Mile Road, has received complaints from many area residents who’ve received tickets for speeding in the construction zone. Houpt went to bat for them with county Sheriff Lou Vallario a few weeks ago, but he refused to consider rescinding them.Monday, Vallario reported to the commissioners that many tickets have been written in the construction zone, in fact 13 in a period from April 3 to April 13. All were for speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour, he said.County road and bridge supervisor Marv Stephens recommended decreasing the length of the construction zone from the beginning of Four Mile Road to mile marker one, which is located near the Four Mile Ranch subdivision. The speed limit of 25 miles per hour would remain in effect in the new zone.”I still have to say this is an unusually long construction zone,” Houpt said.Stephens defended the size of the zone saying construction crews “use the entire length of the road. My concern is the people speeding up and down the construction zone. There’s no getting out of it, that’s where the work will be done.”Vallario said the discussion also brings up a broader question. A $1.5 million upgrade of Dry Hollow Road south of Silt is set to begin this summer.He wondered how the county will define the construction zone that could stretch for four miles on the heavily traveled road that sees a large share of oil and gas truck traffic. He suggested that with the problems on Four Mile Road, the commissioners should discuss the size of the Dry Hollow construction zone and its implications.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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