Rocky road irks bikers, others
Clem Kopf sees a bumpy road ahead for bicyclists on some Garfield County roads, and he’s hoping county commissioners can smooth things over.Kopf hopes to convince the county not to use large-diameter gravel for chip-sealing of Four Mile Road near Glenwood Springs.Chip-sealing with three-quarter-inch gravel on a small portion of the road has made it unpleasant for bicyclists going uphill and dangerous for those going down, said Kopf, who lives up the road. He favors using three-eighths-inch gravel, as previously had been used on the road.”It doesn’t seem logical to me to use a construction technique that eliminates one or more of the users,” he said.Nick Massaro, a Battlement Mesa resident, says the county’s chip-sealing policy is hurting pedestrians as well as cyclists.About four years ago, the county used the three-quarter-inch gravel on Battlement Parkway. Not only did it make it unridable for cyclists, but cars kicked up stones that struck people walking on the road, which has no sidewalks, Massaro said.A lot of people walk in Battlement Mesa, he said. People who used to walk on Battlement Parkway all but quit doing so for two or three years, he said.He said the county had to bring a sweeper in to clean up loose gravel before the danger subsided. But Kraig Kuberry, the road and bridge foreman for western Garfield County, said the road has been swept only to clean up sand applied over the winter.Kopf and Massaro raised their concerns in a recent meeting with county commissioners, and Commissioner Trési Houpt sympathized with them.Houpt, who also lives in the Four Mile Road area and sometimes runs on the road, said bigger gravel used in chip-sealing makes it harder for those on foot or on bikes.Houpt said that because the county lacks many bike paths, it needs to consider the needs of nonmotorized users of roads, particularly in more populated areas.Commissioner John Martin said the problem is that the larger-diameter gravel has a longer life expectancy, and there also is some question about the availability of three-eighths-inch gravel.Kuberry said the larger gravel is more durable.”The three-eighths doesn’t hold up at all, so we went to three-quarter,” he said.In heavier traffic, the county even has used inch-and-a-half-diameter gravel in some places, but it’s more expensive and causes more wear and tear on snowplows, Kuberry said.It’s unclear to Kopf and Massaro whether the county may be willing to change its policy. Four Mile Road isn’t scheduled for chip-sealing this year, but there’s some question whether it’s too late to rethink what gravel is used on that and other roads due for resurfacing, especially if contracts already have been awarded.”If I had to guess ahead here I think they’re going to go ahead and ruin a bunch of the roads,” Kopf said.Houpt said if the county sticks with larger gravel, it may look at the use of fog-sealing to reduce the problem of loose gravel. But Kuberry questioned whether that would help, saying the purpose of fog-sealing is to keep moisture from going under the road where the chip seal oil has cracked.
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