Interstate 70 ramps between Rifle, Canyon Creek to be affected by fencing project | PostIndependent.com

Interstate 70 ramps between Rifle, Canyon Creek to be affected by fencing project

Staff Report

The Colorado Department of Transportation is alerting motorists that an ongoing wildlife fencing project on Interstate 70 will affect access to entrance ramps in the coming weeks.

• At the Canyon Creek North Frontage Road (Exit 109), short one-way detours will be in place for deer guard installations for about two weeks.

• At Silt Exit 97, South River Frontage Road, construction and installation of deer guards will be completed and the road fully opened to traffic during the week of Aug. 5.

UPCOMING NIGHT CLOSURES

The following I-70 ramps will be closed for two hours on the indicated nights for deer guard striping (essentially wider "cattle guards" painted on highway to deter deer from accessing the interstate at these locations).

• Aug. 11: West Rifle Exit 87, westbound West Rifle off ramp, eastbound West Rifle on ramp

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• Aug. 12: Main Rifle Exit 90, eastbound off ramp, eastbound on ramp

• Aug. 13: Tibbitts Landing, truck pull-out at Mile Post 108, exit lanes will be closed

Wildlife fence work will continue east of mile post 103, with eastbound shoulder and right-lane closures during the day throughout the month of August.

PROJECT DETAILS

Ideal Fencing Corporation of Colorado was contracted $2.8 million by the Colorado Department of Transportation to construct this phase of wildlife fence installation along I-70 between West Rifle (mile marker 87) and Canyon Creek west of Glenwood Springs (mile marker 110). The work consists of removing existing state right of way fence where necessary, and repairing or installing approximately 150,000 linear feet of 8-foot high wildlife fence. For the 24-mile stretch, this is what the project will include:

• Forty-eight miles of wildlife fencing – 24 on the south side, 24 on the north side; this includes 35 miles of new fence and 13 miles of repaired fence.

• Fifty-four wildlife escape ramps – 27 on the north side and 27 on the south side of I-70; these one-way escape ramps are soil ramps (with mesh material included for erosion control) that enable wildlife to escape the highway right of way. Ramps are built on the highway side of the fence, at a six-foot high "notch" in the fence, allowing wildlife to jump down to safety on the other side.

• Seven deer guards – these are just like cattle guards, installed at highway accesses, but wider (in the travel direction), as deer and elk can jump the narrower cattle guards.

• Eight 'special' deer guards – these will be installed at interstate ramps in West Rifle, Rifle and at Tibbetts Landing (a boat put-in access further west); they consist of pre-formed plastic pavement markings inlaid into cut depressions in the pavement. They function a bit like a highway rumble strip to slow exiting motorists down, and they also deter wildlife from crossing over and entering the interstate. They are about the same size as the regular metal deer guards, 16 feet wide (as the direction of travel) and 30 feet long (across the highway ramps).

For updated project information, the public may call the project manager, Dan Mierkey at 970-462-3211 or email dan.mierkey@idealfencingcorp.com.