Northwest Colorado projects make state transportation department ‘critical improvement’ list |

Northwest Colorado projects make state transportation department ‘critical improvement’ list

Traffic navigating one of the many curves on Colorado Highway 13.
Colorado Department of Transportation/courtesy

CRAIG — The price tag shows it would cost $6 billion to fix critical transportation needs in Colorado.

Accordingly, a new plan, called “Together We Go,” was developed under the direction of the State Transportation Commission and the Statewide Transportation Advisory Committee. It describes “critical transportation improvements totaling $6 billion” including three projects on Colorado Highway 13 — one of the few truck routes between Interstate 80 in Wyoming and Interstate 70 in Colorado.

A map shows projects for the ‘Together we go’ plan for improving Colorado’s critical transportation infrastructure.

The “CO 13: Wyoming South” project would reconstruct Colo. Highway 13 to straighten out curves and add 8-foot shoulders, wildlife fencing, and underpasses. The estimated cost of the work is $48.3 million.

CDOT has identified several benefits, including the following.

• Mobility: The addition of 8-foot shoulders will improve function and safety of the roadway.

• Economic vitality: This area is an important farming and ranching area.

• Other: The 8-foot shoulders will improve the function and safety of this roadway. Wildlife-friendly, right-of-way fencing will also be added as part of this project.

A second project — “CO 13: Rio Blanco South to County Line Shoulders and Passing Lanes” — will continue work to improve Colo. 13 south of Craig.

At an estimated cost of $24.7 million, this project proposes to reconstruct Colo. 13 between Rio Blanco South and County Line to straighten out curves, add 8-foot shoulders, and construct uphill passing lanes between mile markers 16 and 18.

In addition to improving function and safety, “uphill passing lanes will allow vehicles to pass slower-moving trucks on Rio Blanco Hill, and the addition of shoulders will improve safety for motorists and bicyclists,” according to the plan. It also notes that, “the Piceance Creek Basin is a large supplier of various energy sources.”

The third project — “CO 13: Rifle North” — “addresses critical safety issues resulting from aging infrastructure, paving, and curves in four distinct segments to meet 65 mile per hour speed limit and provide wildlife mitigation.” The project, estimated to cost $60 million could be implemented in phases. The benefits of the project include the following.

• Mobility: Provides emergency responders with a safe route to serve rural areas, as well as connectivity to national parks, ski areas, and other recreation sites. It also will maintain freight mobility.

• Economic vitality: Leverages a return on investment, benefitting the economy, environment, and quality of life for roadway users.

• Other: Functions as the detour relief route when I-70, U.S. Highway 40, or I-80 closes and provides a critical corridor for emergency evacuation events.

An announcement of a new 10-year plan made on a post to Facebook by CDOT on Friday initially received criticism.

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Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or