Garfield County proceeds with capital projects in 2016
Garfield County commissioners have trimmed about $18 million in new capital spending from the 2016 budget, but many projects will still proceed because they were already budgeted this year.
Among some of the higher-priority county road and bridge projects that are going forward will be the planned improvements at the Cattle Creek (County Road 113) intersection on Highway 82 between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.
At a cost of about $2 million to reconfigure the busy intersection where two county roads meet Highway 82, including longer acceleration and deceleration lanes, the project has long been on the county’s to-do list.
“All of the projects that are started but not completed will carry forward to next year,” Garfield County Commission Chairman John Martin said.
However, the commissioners, in approving a $107 million county budget for 2016 on Monday, stuck to their pledge to not fund any new capital projects in anticipation of a downturn in oil and gas property tax revenues starting in 2017.
That means projects such as the planned widening of the Catherine Store Bridge on County Road 100 east of Carbondale, and a bridge replacement along a popular route into the Flat Tops near the Sweetwater Resort, will have to wait.
“We will look at those projects in our five- to 10-year plan, but they are not a top priority for us at this time,” Martin said.
The Carbondale-area bridge replacement had been tied to the county’s approval a few years ago for a solid waste transfer station at an industrial site on CR 100 that was to involve heavy truck traffic across the bridge to and from Highway 82.
However, the waste hauling company that was planning to build that facility has since been sold.
Other capital projects in the 2016 budget include a new satellite administration building in Rifle on the recently acquired Howard property, and various courthouse and judicial center improvements in Glenwood Springs.
While the county has allocated $107 million in spending for the coming year, it still maintains reserve funds for various county operations totaling about $109 million.
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