Construction workers continue excavation for Colorado Highway 9 safety improvement
Construction crews will continue excavation work on an 11-mile segment of state Highway 9, between Silverthorne and Kremmling, to prevent future collisions between vehicles and wildlife.
For the week of April 19, work will take place from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, between mile markers 135 and 137. Workers will close lanes northbound and southbound, alternating traffic as needed.
From mile markers 131 to 137, there will be a shoulder closure to remove topsoil, survey the area and remove and install fencing. Delays due to construction are estimated at 20 to 30 minutes.
“We’re not doing anything weather dependent right now,” said Tracy Trulove, a Colorado Department of Transportation communications manager. “It’s just preliminary excavation at this point.”
Construction on the highway began in early April to improve safety for drivers and wildlife alike. The risk of wildlife collisions on Highway 9 between Green Mountain Dam Road and the Colorado River is known to be high in the morning and early evening hours, CDOT reports.
“It can be scary when you drive it all the time and you have four kids,” said Summit County resident Rachelle Hawkinson, who lives 30 miles north of Silverthorne. “There are no passing lanes, no shoulder and you also have the wildlife — there are just a lot of obstacles on that highway.”
To address those issues, CDOT contracted Kirkland Construction to add several underpasses and overpasses, along with fencing, to allow deer and elk to safely cross the highway. Other plans include widening road shoulders, straightening severe curves and flattening steep hills to improve drivers’ lines of sight between mile markers 126 and 137.
Construction is expected to take up to two years, broken into two phases with breaks during winter seasons. Work will span 10.6 miles of the highway; the project cost estimates range from $46 million to $50 million.
While she looks forward to the planned improvements, Hawkinson still has concerns about stretches of Highway 9 along Green Mountain Reservoir, where there are no guardrails and a slim shoulder.
“This past winter, there was a car that went off … it just flew down from the pass into the reservoir,” Hawkinson said. “It would just be really nice to see some other areas of the highway that need the attention.”
CDOT encourages drivers to slow down and drive cautiously through the construction zone. For questions and updates on the project, drivers may contact the project’s public information team at (970) 724-4724 or at email@example.com.
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