“We’ve been saving our capital improvements funds hoping there would be an opportunity for a (energy impact grant) match. This year it became clear that those funds aren’t coming back in any significant amount for a while yet, so we decided to allocate some of the money to pay for some long overdue projects.”
— Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray
The Moffat County road and bridge department will soon embark on an aggressive campaign to improve county roads for the first time since 2008.
Roy Tipton, Moffat County developmental services director, said Wednesday five projects encompassing more than 10 miles of county roads are scheduled for overlay beginning in June.
The Moffat County Commission approved plans in late April when it unanimously approved a $2.9 million bid from Connell Resources, Inc., for more than 42,000 tons of asphalt.
The bulk of the road material will go towards repairing seven miles of Moffat County Road 4 east of Powder Wash camp and three miles of Moffat County Road 29 on the Moffat County side of Elkhead Reservoir, Tipton said.
First Street between Ranney and U.S. Highway 40, and small sections of Preece Avenue and Second Place are also scheduled for improvements.
Work on the in-town streets will be completed before crews expand into other parts of the county, Tipton said.
Moffat County Road 4 improvements will likely take place last, with work anticipated to begin the end of August or first part of September.
Unlike years past, Moffat County is paying for the road improvements solely with taxpayer funds. Before the economy dipped in 2008, Moffat County road projects were funded with matching energy impact grants allocated by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
But, for the last four years energy impact money has been swept into other funds by Colorado legislators in an effort to balance the state budget.
Commissioner Tom Gray credited fiscally conservative policies in the county’s ability to fund the road projects.
“We’ve been saving our capital improvements funds hoping there would be an opportunity for a (energy impact grant) match,” Gray said. “This year it became clear that those funds aren’t coming back in any significant amount for a while yet, so we decided to allocate some of the money to pay for some long overdue projects.”
The savings have been held in Moffat County’s general fund, Gray said.
At budget time, commissioners decided to allocate more than $5.7 million of those savings to the road and bridge capital projects fund.
About $2.5 million is inked for paving projects, another $2.5 million for Shadow Mountain road improvements, and $784,000 for miscellaneous expenditures.
However the bid from Connell Resources for asphalt is $449,393 more than what the county budgeted for 2012 road improvements.
“We’re not going to spend more than we have,” Gray said. “What we did was go out to bid on (seven) miles of County Road 4, but we’ll just stop at five miles or whatever our budgeted dollars get us.”
Gray also said there may be some leftover money from other road and bridge projects budgeted this year, namely Shadow Mountain.
Last week, engineers began collecting soil samples in the subdivision in preparation for future road improvements, Gray said, and so far it appears the condition of the subbase is not as poor as originally thought.
“We budgeted for the worst case and we know we won’t be doing all of that work this year,” Gray said.
“That will probably be cheaper than $2.5 million the way it is looking, but we (commissioners) have not talked about taking money away from that fund to put into paving projects that are going ahead this year.”
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