Summit County approves ‘aggressive’ summer road construction schedule
Ryan Summerlin April 22, 2014
Rainbow Drive construction at Highway 9 underway
Construction began Monday, April 21, to widen Rainbow Drive and improve traffic flow at the intersection of Colorado Highway 9 near The Outlets at Silverthorne.
The project, which is being conducted by CDOT, is slated to continue through July 1. Although access to the Green Village will be maintained through the duration of construction, departing shoppers will have to link back to Highway 9 by a detour down Rainbow Drive to Sixth Street near Silverthorne Town Hall.
The purpose of the project is to eliminate the need for split phase, left-hand turns from Rainbow Drive onto Highway 9. Once completed, the project should result in more “green” time for all motorists and reduce the number of cars that back up onto Blue River Parkway waiting to merge onto Interstate 70.
During its regularly scheduled workshop Tuesday, April 21, the Board of County Commissioners gave the green light to a hefty road maintenance plan that exceeds the Road and Bridge Department’s current 2014 budget.
“The practical realization is that we have some roads in pretty bad shape and they need maintenance now more than ever after this winter,” said Summit County manager Gary Martinez. “This is a good list of projects. It’s an aggressive schedule.”
County officials identified about 4½ miles of roads in Summit Cove, Keystone and Breckenridge that are due for an overhaul, along with a variety of maintenance needs throughout the county. The total estimated price tag is $1,576,537, which exceeds the road department’s 2014 maintenance budget of $1.1 million.
County finance director Marty Ferris said the road department ended 2013 with a fund balance, but would still be about $250,000 shy of the total estimated cost. She proposed that the commission pass a budget appropriation later in the year to divert excess sales tax revenue to the road department.
After just two months, county sales tax figures are trending at 8 percent above 2014 projections, Ferris said, and March is expected to come in just as strong. In Summit County, sales tax revenue collected between January and March annually accounts for about 45 percent of the year-end total.
“The fund balance is the best we’ve had in years,” Ferris said. “Even if we average out to 4 or 5 percent above budget, we’ll still have the funds to cover the extra cost.”
The required budget appropriation is not expected to be proposed or considered until after the March sales tax figures come in, Martinez said.
Despite not having those numbers, the commissioners approved allowing staff to begin the bidding process.
With the Colorado Department of Transportation launching its own aggressive construction schedule this summer, the only question is whether their work will inflate construction cost estimates for everyone else.
“Even though we’re still waiting on numbers to see just how good March was, it’s easy to say yes to this,” Commissioner Thomas Davidson said. “As long as the bids are fair, I think this is a good plan.”
Among the roads slated for overhauls this summer are sections of Royal Coachman Boulevard, Idlewild Drive and Forest Glen Road in Summit Cove; Montezuma Road near U.S. Highway 6, Wild Irishman Road and Soda Ridge Road in Keystone; and Airport Road in Breckenridge. The projects involve 2- to 3-inch overlays or chip-and-fog sealing.
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