Drainage tunnel for mountain stream in Colorado.

CDOT highlights region 3 priorities

Presented Garfield County commissioners with projects, increased safety efforts

March 13, 2024

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has presented its region 3 projects to the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), highlighting increased safety efforts and funding for repairing and replacing culverts in the area.

The report noted that CDOT plowed more than 1,053,000 miles in region 3, section 2 (Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs), and more than 554,000 miles in region 3, section 6 (West Maintenance Area north of Rifle) in 2023. Between both sections of region 3 that include Garfield County, more than 38,500 tons of hot asphalt was laid, and another 16,100 square yards of asphalt was hand-pitched.

Jason Smith, CDOT regional transportation manager, told the board that region 3 encompasses 15 counties in northwest Colorado, covering a vast geographical area.

“It’s a very large, very diverse area, as you guys know,” he said. “We have over 50 municipalities that we work with, we have a lot of assets we have to maintain: over 700 bridges, seven tunnels, and more than 5,000 lane miles of highways, and we’re the largest region (in the state) in terms of square miles.”

Smith added that there are close to 20,000 culverts in the region, and $27 million in Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) redistribution funding is being used for repair and replacement. He said there are 295 high-priority culverts in region 3 that CDOT is focusing on.

“Some of these are on Interstate 70 and others are on other corridors. These are high priority because of the risk that we’ve associated with them,” Smith told the board. “It might be the condition of the culvert but also if it’s in a location that is more risky, like on I-70, if there is a failure, we’ve identified them as a high priority that we need to address right now.”

He added that there are roughly 45 culverts being worked on currently in the region.

The report noted that in 2023, CDOT spent $4,948,744 in the Garfield County part of section 2, including $2,251,232 on snow and ice control and $1,464,769 on roadway surfacing. In Garfield County, section 6, CDOT spent an additional $683,239, with $374,908 on snow and ice control, and another $166,865 on roadway surface work. More than $2 million was spent on maintaining and operating the Hanging Lake Tunnel in Glenwood Canyon last year.

CDOT has also expanded its Bustang offerings between Grand Junction and Denver to four a day, with plans to run 13-15 daily round trips in 2025. It currently operates a single daily round trip between Glenwood Springs and Denver.

CDOT is replacing and upgrading signal wiring, conduit, pull boxes, and detection at Highway 82 and Catherine Store Road near Carbondale, according to the presentation. It is also constructing a new roundabout at Highway 6 and Castle Valley Boulevard in New Castle and planning to expand the deceleration turn lane at the traffic lights on Highway 82 at Spring Valley Road near Glenwood Springs.