Colorado Department of Transportation 

March 11, 2024

The Colorado Department of Transportation has three upcoming projects occurring in La Plata County this coming summer. Projects range from chip seal operations on US Highway 160, safety improvements along Main Avenue including single replacement and traffic flow enhancements, and completing the US Highway 160 and 550 connection project. The connection project at Grand View will improve safety and accessibility and will include wildlife underpasses and a planned extension to a four-lane highway. Julie Constan from the Colorado Department of Transportation provides insights into these crucial infrastructure developments, underlining safety precautions for travelers navigating construction zones. By Sadie Smith. This story is sponsored by Alpine Bank.

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Hi, I'm Eric Eicher, employee owner and president of Alpine Bank Durango. At Alpine Bank, we believe in the power of community and connecting you with the resources you need to work, live, and play in our community. I hope you enjoy this edition of Community Insights.

This summer, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be working on three projects that fall within La Plata County. The initial project is the application of chip seals on Highway 160 at two distinct locations, enhancing road quality and durability.

And so, the first location will be from the very western edge of Durango or out by the Speedway Gas Station on the west side of town. It will go clear to the Montezuma County border, so the very top of what we call Mancos Hill. We'll be chip sealing that, we'll be replacing rumble strips that we have. We'll be replacing all the pavement markings that we have in that area. And then we will also be doing a chip seal over on the very eastern edge of Bayfield to the very top of Yellow Jacket Pass. Doing the same thing replacing existing rumble strips, pavement markings.

The purpose of this project is to increase the longevity of the pavement underneath it, as well as provide a smoother traveling surface. The second project involves addressing 14th Street intersection where the transition from North Maine to Camino takes place. The primary focus is on replacing the old traffic signal with collaborative efforts alongside the railroad to enhance and upgrade the crossing, ensuring a smoother experience for both motorists and rail traffic. Additionally, there are plans to improve ADA sidewalk ramps, enhancing accessibility for individuals with disabilities as they navigate the sidewalks along the highway.

The other main key part of this project is we're going to be changing the striping for the people that are headed southbound or from North Maine down into downtown and onto Camino. We're going to be changing the striping at that location. We've been working with the city of Durango to do this. We'll be eliminating the ability to turn left onto 14th Street with the striping that's going to be occurring at that intersection. It should improve the flow of traffic. We have a lot of crashes at that intersections from rear ends and people not knowing where, what lane they need to be in to go what direction. So we're hoping this project will make it clearer and make it safer for the traveling public.

The third ongoing project involves the completion of the US Highway 160 and 550 connection near Grandview and Three Springs. At the existing bridge interchange in Wilson Gulch roundabout located just east of Farmington Hill.

So we are in the final stages of getting that full interchange finally open to the traveling public. I know it's been going on for quite a while. There's been some delays due to some extra work that's needed to happen as well as just COVID and staffing and construction type issues. But the current plan is if all goes well by May or June, we should have that whole intersection open and moving. Farmington Hill, people will not have to use that anymore. That Farmington Hill definitely gets dangerous, especially in the wintertime with the shaded hillside steep grades, the signal, anytime we have a signal in the middle of a highway, it causes rearing crashes and crashes in general. So that should help with our safety through that area.

The once two-lane highway is now expanded to four lanes, approximately four miles south of town, aiming to enhance traffic flow through the area. Additionally, the project also includes numerous wildlife underpasses, small mammal crossings, and game fencing to address wildlife impacts along the corridor.

As we'd like to remind the traveling public anytime you are traveling through a construction zone. Number one, slow down. We lower the speed limits to the construction zone to make it safer for the traveling public as well as the workers out there. Pay very close attention to what's going on around you. Please limit any distractions you have going on at the car when you're going through a work zone 'cause there are live people with families out there. We don't want those people to get hit.

While construction zones may be an inconvenience to the public, CDOT urges motorists to be patient while traveling through construction and maintenance projects that are necessary to preserve the condition of the highways. To keep up with current road conditions, the Colorado Department of Transportation offers resources available to the traveling public, including the COtrip website and the COtrip planner app that you can download for free on your phone. COtrip provides travelers with driving conditions as well as current construction projects and highway closures due to emergency incidents. We're proud to present Community Insights powered by Local News Network and sponsored by Alpine Bank. With Community Insights, our mission is to foster a stronger and more connected community in La Plata County and beyond. For more information about this and other stories, visit Thank you for watching this edition of Community Insights. I'm Sadie Smith.


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