Road woes: Warm weather turns routes into mud


It's mud season in January. Just take a look at the county roads for the proof.

Many of Moffat County's secondary roads are in rough shape, but there is little the Road and Bridge Department can do about it at this time, Road and Bridge Director Bill Mack said.

It's the mildest winter Mack can recall in the Yampa Valley. Early in the season, the roads froze, but they have since thawed and, in some places, practically turned upside down, with the gravel on the bottom and the mud on top.

"If we get wet weather again, it's going to be bad," Mack said.

Many roads are too wet to fix right now, Mack said. Grading many roads would do more harm than good.

Roads in the northern part of the county are in the worst shape, Mack said.

That part of the county is experiencing a large amount of gas activity, and gas companies are traveling with drilling rigs over secondary roads that aren't built for heavy traffic.

Even in the summer, when roads are dry and generally in good condition, the heavy traffic of drilling rigs can damage the roads, Mack said.

Moffat County Commissioner Darryl Steele said the commissioners are working to develop road maintenance agreements with companies that are having a heavy effect on county roads.

"Instead of going to the rigs, we'll go to the parent companies, and we're working on that," Steele said.

In the past, Mack has given companies permission to repair roads, but the companies sometimes make the problem worse than it was.

The commissioners have said they would prefer that county workers make the repairs and the companies pay for the manpower and equipment.

But they've given Mack the freedom to solve road issues on a case by case basis.

The commissioners are working a similar deal with two companies that are planning to construct natural-gas pipelines across the county.

The county wants the companies to share the cost for repairing the roads they damage while constructing the pipeline this spring.

Typically, Road and Bridge crews would be plowing snow this time of year. The county is saving some money by not having to plow, Mack said.

But the crews still have plenty of work to do, he said.

If nothing else, there is plenty of maintenance to be done on aging county equipment.

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