The Buford-New Castle Road in Garfield County.

Work to improve Buford-New Castle Road commences

Travelers can expect delays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday

May 10, 2024

A large maintenance and improvement project will begin next week on the Buford-New Castle Road (NFSR 245). The project is the result of a partnership between Garfield County and the White River National Forest.

Travelers can expect delays up to two hours Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday from 7 a.m. to noon, while Garfield County crews replace culverts along the 7.5 miles between the forest boundary and the West Elk Trailhead.

It’s the first phase of the road improvement and reconditioning project on the stretch, which is expected to last through July. Work includes reconditioning all culverts and ditches, as well as grading and re-graveling the entire stretch with more than 20,000 tons of gravel from a Forest gravel pit. The project also includes replacing signs along the entire length of the Buford-Newcastle Road.

Work will continue on weekdays through at least July. No work on the road will occur on weekends or federal holidays.

“We anticipate travelers will see some delays on the Buford-Newcastle Road on weekdays throughout much of the summer,” said Rifle District Ranger Joe Fazzi. “We appreciate the public’s patience as we work with the county to complete this much-needed work.”

In January, Garfield County and the White River National Forest entered into an agreement to work together to complete the estimated $1.2 million project. The Forest Service is contributing $90,000 from a Secure Rural Schools, Title II grant, which are generated from multi-use activities such as grazing, timber production, and special use permits on National Forest System lands and awarded by the Greater Rocky Mountain Resource Advisory Committee. The forest is also contributing approximately $300,000 in gravel.

Garfield County is contributing the remaining $800,000 for the project to improve the first 8 miles of the Buford-New Castle Road. The county is providing all labor, materials, traffic control, and equipment for the project. Improvements include replacement of up to eight culverts, shoulder and road bed grading, including placing gravel with dust control and erosion-control efforts.