‘Emergency’ road work tidies up access to sheepdog finals | PostIndependent.com

‘Emergency’ road work tidies up access to sheepdog finals

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Garfield County road crews will make emergency repairs to County Road 100 (Catherine Store Road) near Carbondale this week and next, to make the road useable for traffic to and from the Strang Ranch Sheepdog Finals, which start Sept. 13.

The goal, according to Public Works Director Betsy Suerth, is to create a detour that will carry two lanes of traffic around the work area for the duration of the event.

The county has been working to make repairs to County Road 100, as well as County Road 115 (Red Canyon Road) and County Road 320 (Rifle-Rulison Road) after the roads suffered considerable damage from floodwaters and mudflows during heavy rainstorms in late July.

The Garfield Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in August approved close to $500,000 to fix the Rifle-Rulison Road, which was badly undermined and washed out in places.

Work on that road is nearly completed, according to Suerth.

But it was not until this week that the BOCC was able to approve a bit over $748,000 to repair Catherine Store and Red Canyon roads.

As part of the project to repair the two roads, county attorney Andrew Gorgey negotiated 10 temporary easement agreements with landowners on either side of the roads.

Some of those easements, Gorgey told the BOCC on Monday, have yet to be finalized.

Aspen Earthmoving of Carbondale was the low bidder on the Catherine Store Road project, at nearly $420,000. Work is expected to begin today at the earliest, depending on the weather, according to contractor Dave Heyl.

Con-Sy Inc. of Rifle won the $328,000 contract to repair Red Canyon Road, which climbs up from Highway 82 near Glenwood Springs to the northern end of Spring Valley.

The work is to include drainage improvements, construction of retaining walls and emergency repairs needed just to keep the roads open.

For the second time this summer, the BOCC took a few minutes to discuss the hazardous nature of Red Canyon Road, a narrow track with steep, unstable canyon walls above it and equally steep hillsides plunging down to a creekbed far below.

“This is a road that is a permanent problem,” said Commissioner Mike Samson. “Is this going to take care of things?” he asked, referring to the planned repairs.

Suerth noted that the road is especially dangerous to county road crews who must maintain it with heavy and large equipment.

But while the commissioners have openly talked of not maintaining the road in the past, they did not take action Monday to shut the road down.

“It has been deemed only as an emergency, or ‘use at your own risk’ road,” said Commissioner John Martin. “The main way into and out of Spring Valley is by using County Road 114 (Colorado Mountain College Road) to get to Highway 82.”


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