Garfield County road closed for 2 years may reopen by the end of 2010 |

Garfield County road closed for 2 years may reopen by the end of 2010

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

BATTLEMENT MESA, Colorado – A controversial road near here, closed since late 2008, may reopen before the end of the year.

But Garfield County officials cannot say exactly when that might be.

“All the parties,” said County Commissioner Mike Samson recently, “are ready to have it open. It needs to be opened up.”

Samson said he went to the neighborhood recently, toured the road closure and heard directly from the frustrated residents living nearby.

But it is not that simple, the Board of County Commissioners was told recently.

“There is an extensive process that needs to be followed,” declared County Attorney Don DeFord at a commissioners meeting on Oct. 4, referring to the vacation of the old CR 306 right of way and the ratification of a new right of way.

The road forms a loop that runs south from CR 300, just west of Battlement Mesa. The road runs south along Wallace Creek, passes over a dividing ridge and comes back north along Spring Creek to rejoin CR 300.

It originally was closed following a botched pipeline project by the Antero Resources gas drilling company, which damaged the road so badly in 2008 that it had to be closed near the top of the saddle connecting the two creek drainages.

At about the same time, county officials learned that the route, deeded to the county by rancher Norm Dutton, had never been properly recorded in the county’s records, and that the road as it was built actually trespasses on a neighboring ranch.

That legal wrangle, complicated by a squabble among Dutton’s daughters, has contributed to delays in getting the situation sorted out and the road reopened once a new right of way has been signed over to the county and the old one vacated.

So far, the road project is estimated to have cost the county at least $195,000 – $180,000 for construction, $15,000 for engineering, and an unknown amount in terms of time spent by the county attorneys on the matter.

The commissioners voted unanimously on Oct. 4 to move forward with all the needed site visits, legal work and recording of deeds as quickly as possible.

Still, according to board chair John Martin, “It probably won’t be until December that the road is open again.”

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