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Good neighbors, bad highway

Baggs, Wyo., residents call for improving Colorado Highway 13

Dan Olsen

Letter of appeal

Below are Craig locations where area motorists may sign a "letter of appeal" seeking improved conditions on Colorado Highway 13, between Craig and Baggs, Wyo.:

• United Supply - 301 Ranney St.

• City Market - 505 W. Victory Way

• Loaf and Jug - 2401 W. Victory Way

The committee circulating the letter, the LSRV Highway 13 Committee, may be reached via mail at Box 296, Baggs, Wyo. 82321

Letter of appeal

Below are Craig locations where area motorists may sign a “letter of appeal” seeking improved conditions on Colorado Highway 13, between Craig and Baggs, Wyo.:

• United Supply – 301 Ranney St.

• City Market – 505 W. Victory Way

• Loaf and Jug – 2401 W. Victory Way

The committee circulating the letter, the LSRV Highway 13 Committee, may be reached via mail at Box 296, Baggs, Wyo. 82321

— Drivers heading north out of Craig on Colorado Highway 13 grip the wheel a little tighter about 20 miles into the drive.

At mile marker 111 to be precise.

“It is a road you don’t use cruise control on,” said Linda Fleming, a former commissioner in Carbon County, Wyo. “If you’re pulling a horse trailer, it’s a white-knuckle drive.”

A “letter of appeal,” by Fleming and Midge Mixon, in circulation around Craig and Baggs, Wyo., for signatures to improve the highway has drawn interest and pages of signatures from concerned motorists.

The organization the women belong to is called the Little Snake River Valley Highway 13 Committee. The committee asked Moffat County commissioners for support during the July 12 meeting.

“We’re getting good response,” Fleming said. “In Baggs’ stores, the pages are filling up, and people are writing letters and dropping them off with me.”

The problem, according to the committee, is that Colorado promised years ago to improve the road between the two towns. Funding issues stopped the planned improvements.

The road now is more hazardous than ever, the committee said.

“The road is deteriorating even more with all the energy trucks using it,” Fleming said. “With all the wide-fast loads, there’s no room for you both on the roadway. It’s a safety issue.”

Mixon explained how the highway is a vital link between two towns that are really one community. Baggs residents often visit Craig for medical needs and for most purchases, from shoes to automobiles, Mixon said.

“People come here to enjoy the peace and quiet and the scenery,” she said. “They don’t want to risk their lives getting there.”

Statistics provided by the Colorado State Patrol show 25 accidents reported on the section of highway in question between July 1, 2006, and July 31 of this year. Animals caused 32 percent of the accidents, but “inattentive driving” attributed to another 32 percent.

The committee hopes to raise awareness on the Colorado side of the state line.

“We go to the Community Concert Series and the football games in Craig,” Fleming said. “When people here say ‘I’m going to Craig,’ it’s like saying ‘I’m going to the store.’ We are part of the Craig community.”

An increasing number of workers are driving from Craig to Baggs, and vice-versa, the committee members said.

Mixon dropped off many of the letters in Craig that the committee hopes to get signed and returned to Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter in the next few weeks.

Fleming is aware that the committee is an unusual situation.

“It’s an awkward position to be in. Wyoming residents appealing to the Colorado road department,” she said. “But there’s just no room for error on that road. If you drop a wheel off or a deer jumps, there’s no room to do anything.”


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