Commissioners support project to fix up Hwy 139 |

Commissioners support project to fix up Hwy 139

Suspended over a steep hillside above Interstate 70, a crew member puts the finishing touches on one of the rockfall barrier fences in Glenwood Canyon.

The Garfield County commissioners supported the Colorado State Highway 139 Douglas Pass Project on Monday, which proposes a variety work to be done to the mountain pass. Though Douglas Pass sits primarily outside of Garfield County, the commissioners felt it was an important enough transportation route for western rural Colorado for them to voice their support as it connects the east and west Interstate 70 in Colorado to Highway 64 and east and west Highway 40 at the Colorado and Utah border. 

The work will complete landslide mitigation on the south side of Highway 139 at around mile marker 34 and reconstruct the road over Douglas Pass from mile marker 33 to 36 with several safety improvements. 

According to the letter, only 20 miles of SH 139 are located in Garfield County; however, it is the only viable north/south roadway connecting the 1.5 million acres of public land and Rangely to I-70 in Mesa County.

“Western rural Colorado depends on this corridor for a wide variety of critical reasons including, providing freight transport, facilitating tourism and recreation, providing access to natural resources and supporting agriculture activities that contribute substantially to our socio-economic well-being,” the letter reads. 

The Highway 139 corridor provides access to essential services for rural western Colorado residents such as regional health care facilities and veterans hospital. 

“Energy extraction including coal, oil, oil shale, and natural gas will continue to result in heavy vehicles impacting this roadway that serve those industries,” the letter states. “In addition, multi-modal travel, such as bicycling and transit would be greatly improved by this project.”  

It says the connection between rural Western Colorado and the National and Instate Highways that this corridor provides is essential for those residents.  

The commissioners ratified the letter of support at Monday’s meeting.

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