Summit County road repairs await money, warmer weather
Summit Daily News
As skiers and snowboarders bask in the short bursts of sunshine that herald the return of spring, Summit County’s roads are literally quaking at the oncoming freeze-thaw cycle.
The wet weather and quick changes in temperature are making the already-pockmarked local roads even worse, county officials say.
“Weather has a giant impact on potholes,” Summit County assistant manager Thad Noll said. “More water means more potholes, and freezing and thawing means even more potholes.”
Few know the extent of the trouble caused by potholes as well as Gary Bergman, a 40-year resident and owner of Meadow Creek Discount Tire and Service in Frisco who said his team is fixing as many as three or four flat tires a day thanks to the county’s crumbling roads.
“First thing this morning, (it was) one after the other,” Bergman said Friday. “All in the same pothole … up at Farmer’s Korner somewhere. They’re leaving Breckenridge and they’re all taking tires out.”
And the already damaged and tire-unfriendly streets around the county, such as Highway 9, Swan Mountain Road and the Dam Road, are likely to get worse this spring before they can be repaved this summer.
County officials said plans are under way to tackle the worn and crumbling county streets, including the Dillon Dam Road and Swan Mountain Road this summer. But the time frame when weather conditions are warm enough to effectively plug a pothole is limited to just a few weeks.
The county is well positioned financially to complete the repaving that needs to be done this year, thanks to the 1A tax measure approved by voters in 2008. Work somewhere along Swan Mountain Road and the Dam Road will be the biggest of several repaving projects county-wide this summer.
The Dam Road project will also include a reconstruction of the recpath between the dam and Frisco.
Noll said the damage on county roads is limited and easily the worst drive in the county – the deteriorating stretch of Highway 9 between Frisco and Tiger Run – falls under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The project of repaving the highway has been put off in anticipation of funding to do a full reconstruction of the road, widening it to four lanes between Tiger Road and the Agape Church.
“It’s a lot of money to repave,” CDOT engineer Bill Scheuerman said. “If we knew we were getting the money to reconstruct, it would make sense to reconstruct.”
But a source of funding for the four-lane widening project has not been identified and the transportation department is now considering other options with a “dwindling” resurfacing budget.
A possible short-term solution would be an overlay, which would mean filling in the existing potholes and putting down a thin layer of asphalt over the road until funding for a more permanent solution becomes available.
“It’s a balancing act,” Noll said. “Do we do this now or do we try to let it last one more season and then do the construction? Well, it got really bad, really fast.”
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