Sign for visitor center info and rest area exit on Interstate 70 near Rifle, Colorado during summer.

County requests CDOT hold transportation meetings

Roundtables would spur discussion on short- and long-term solutions to traffic woes

May 17, 2023

Garfield County has sent the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) a letter requesting roundtable meetings with local governments to discuss forecasted growth in the area and the impact it will have on an already congested road system. Residents, commuters, and visitors are at times experiencing heavy congestion on the Interstate 70 and Highway 82 corridors in Garfield County, necessitating local meetings to discuss both short- and long-term strategies to help mitigate the conundrum.

The letter, which was addressed to CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew, cites increasing population projections and the need for a “safer, more efficient, and reliable multi-modal transportation system for the I-70 and State Highway 82 corridors.”

“According to population and employment forecasts, particularly along the I-70 corridor, Garfield County’s population is estimated to grow by 40 percent, from 62,000 residents in 2020, to 86,000 in 2040,” the county’s letter notes. “The number of jobs in Garfield County will increase by 40 percent over the same time period, from an estimated 36,000 jobs to 51,000.”

In recent years, local roadways have also experienced disruptions due to natural disasters, such as wildfire, debris flows, rockslides, and more, further impacting already heavy traffic flows.

“It seems vital to us that CDOT, the most important transportation stakeholder in our region and the state, be involved in and, ideally, facilitate a series of transportation roundtable meetings for local governments in Garfield County,” the letter states.

“A group of people have been talking about working together to come up with fiscal solutions for transportation in the west end of the county,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “I’ve attended one meeting so far and there was a good representation from across Garfield County.”

The letter was approved unanimously by the Board of County Commissioners, 3-0, and signed by the board, and is expected to be signed by the towns of Parachute, Silt, New Castle, and Carbondale, and the cities of Rifle and Glenwood Springs. The letter can be read on the county’s website.