Rifle council approves of new beautification project at Interstate 70 gateway

Traffic passes underneath Interstate 70 in Rifle on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Rifle City Council unanimously approved a beautification project planned for the westbound interchange ramps at Interstate 70. The project also aims to improve pedestrian safety by installing new lighting in the area.

The $523,195 bid was awarded to Martinez Western Constructors, the same entity that was subcontracted to complete the newly finished beautification project in downtown Rifle.

Rifle Civil Engineer Craig Spaulding said the project, likely to begin some time next spring, may cause delays in traffic.

The area receives about 19,000 vehicles in traffic per day, Spaulding said.

“Even if we do everything perfectly, there will be times there’s concrete pours, and we have to shut down a lane,” he said.

The majority of the project will be defrayed by street improvement funds — composed of funds granted by the Colorado Department of Transportation — set aside for corridor improvements, according to city documents. However, $315,000 was originally budgeted for the I-70 gateway improvement project, so the city pulled an extra $208,000 from its general fund to fully fund construction.

City officials and leaders have mulled over options for the project, which was originally introduced to council in 2019, since earlier this year. Discussions led council to add more lighting to the area, which ultimately expanded the project’s scope.

With the addition of lighting and increase in material costs, the bid comes in at $260,000 more than originally discussed in July, Spaulding said.

Rifle Mayor Ed Green asked how the city could justify the additional costs.

Council member Clint Hostettler said the decision is “easily explainable” because of the continuing rise in material costs.

“We’re not $200,000 over the engineer’s price,” he said. “We’re $60,000 over, and we’ve added other things.”

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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