Lower Valley trails group gets lease to build path along I-70 through Garfield County
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Lower Valley trails group (LoVa) this week won a seven-year lease to build a trail along the Interstate 70 corridor from West Glenwood Springs to the Mesa County line.
The agreement, between Garfield County and the Colorado Department of Transportation, nearly stalled over concerns among the county commissioners over liability and other issues. The lease is to be reconsidered for renewal every seven years.
The lease agreement, standard between CDOT and governments along the interstate corridors, calls for the county to be responsible for any injuries, accidents or other mishaps along the trail, which is at some points to be built a short distance outside the guard rails that line the traffic lanes and shoulders of the highway.
County attorney Don DeFord pointed out to the commissioners on May 18 that the lease required two kinds of insurance ” one policy for workers building the trail, and another for trail users once it is built.
In addition, the lease makes the county liable for any costs associated with tearing out the trail and, if desired, relocating it, should the interstate ever be widened.
But CDOT representative Joe Elsen told the commissioners, “I really don’t see [widening of I-70] coming on … in any near time.”
He said other highway improvements, including projects for Colorado 13 between Rifle and Meeker, I-70 to the east of Denver and Colorado 82 between Glenwood Springs and Twin Lakes all are higher on the state’s priority list than the potential need to widen I-70 west of Glenwood Springs.
After considerable debate, and a closed-door session to talk things over with DeFord, the commissioners approved the license agreement 2-1, with commissioner John Martin dissenting.
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