STEAMBOAT SPRINGS The Colorado Department of Transportation has earmarked $4.8 million for safety improvements to a two-mile stretch of U.S. 40 on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass.
The project, however, won't improve road conditions for an area of the pass where a number of motorists have lost their lives in accidents since 1998.
Instead, starting at the junction of U.S. 40 and Colorado 14, CDOT plans to widen the road for another lane, add a message sign, improve the access to Muddy Pass Lake and clear timber.
To unveil the project to the public, CDOT is hosting an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today at the Routt National Forest office, 925 Weiss Drive.
The safety improvements were spurred by the number of accidents that have occurred on the Muddy Pass stretch since 1993, said CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson.
"This section of road has an above-average accident rate when compared to comparable mountain passes," Wilson said.
CDOT calculates accidents on highways in the state based on per million vehicle miles traveled. The average accident rate which includes non-injury, injury and fatality accidents for a comparable mountain pass is 2.10 per million vehicle miles traveled.