Many questions need answering on Highway 9 |

Many questions need answering on Highway 9

This letter is in response to the article titled “Highway 9 not rated as unsafe” in the Aug. 4 issue of this paper.

There are numerous questions we as citizens should be asking our various government entities regarding the so-called “safety” of Highway 9. The terms above should be considered an oxymoron because there is nothing safe about Highway 9 north of Silverthorne.

First of all, we should question whether the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has its own or our best interests in mind when it uses a formula (the Weighted Hazard Index) that considers Highway 9 safe.

By its own admission, and I am quoting, “Of the 37 miles, just eight are classified by CDOT as being in good or fair surface condition. The rest of the miles are listed as poor.”

So is it that CDOT wants us to think it is doing a wonderful job with our road because all of eight miles are better than poor out of 37 miles? I think either its formula needs to change or it needs to consider anything less than 100 percent good or fair as unsafe.

Of course, CDOT wants us all to think that the roads in Colorado are so well-maintained, so they make up a formula to show this.

CDOT can make up a formula to show us anything, but we who drive these roads on a daily basis know the truth.

Our county commissioner has also been snowed by this formula. He, too, thinks this road is in much better shape than it actually is.

He believes this formula is actually portraying the condition of this road. But he doesn’t drive the entire length of it often, and we in the northern end of the county do.

We are all regularly passed by people doing 80 mph or more, and we have nowhere to pull over because the large majority of this road has no shoulders.

We are constantly in a possible head-on collision situation when people are passing in no-passing zones or at very high rates of speed.

The speed limit north of Heeney in Grand County is actually 65 mph, and there has been nothing done to improve that section of road.

Also, nothing has been done between the two Heeney “exits” where four people died two weeks ago.

If they had been wearing seat belts, they might have lived, but also if they had a shoulder to pull over on, they might have lived, too.

I am sick and tired of hearing about the almost-misses of my loved ones and friends and neighbors. These almost head-ons don’t get reported but happen every time any of us drive this road.

The article Monday stated Colorado State Patrol officers “were clocking cars going 80 mph on a road posted at 55 mph. The troopers were stopping drivers and telling them to slow down.”

They don’t need to be told to slow down. They need to be hit in the pocketbooks with a stiff fine.

The officer went on to say, “I think it only makes an impression for about a week. Then they go back to driving what they were driving before.”

Well, duh! A warning does nothing, but a stiff fine or an appearance in court or both might change their driving habits for a little more than a week. I am also told that not all CSP cars have radar. This seems like a simple fix, doesn’t it?

I am asking the people who care about making this road safer to call or write the people mentioned above and ask the hard questions about what they are actually doing to improve Highway 9 north of Silverthorne.

Our lives are all at risk here, and we should not just listen to the authorities’ opinions. We need to question these opinions and ask for changes.

Saying this road is safe in comparison to any other road in Colorado is just not the truth.

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