Wednesday, August 24, 2011

County Road 17 Repairs are Completed; Now for County Road 1

I want to commend the Ouray County Road and Bridge Department, our County Engineers from Russel Engineering, and our contractor Earth Tech,  -- County Road 17 repairs were completed ahead of schedule and under budget.  The County was also able to work with John Ferguson and the incredible team of volunteers that put on the Mt. Sneffels Marathon & Half Marathon.  Due to the team work, dilligence, and flexibility of all involved hundreds of runners were able to utilize County Road 17 for the August 12th running event.  Congrats to Larry Macon who made this his 772nd marathon and to Elyssa Barron who made this her 31st marathon (during her quest to run 51 marathons in 52 weeks).

Now for County Road 1.  About 1/3 of our County lives off of County Road 1, yet this road sees my orders of many magnitudes more daily traffic than any other county road.  Also, approximately 1/2 of our entire county road and bridge annual maintenance effort goes to this one road (which is approximately 13.5 miles of our 220-mile county road system).

When the County voters voted in a new 1% sales tax dedicate to the County Road and Bridge Department, it was estimated to bring in about $450,000/year in revenues.  The county began collecting this in 2009.  Now, with the some revenues saved up, the county has purchased badly needed equipment, road materials, been able to continue to plow the high country jeep roads that are so connected to our economy, and is accomplishing some badly needed deferred maintenance projects on our roads. 

As much of the county knows, County Road 1 near Colona is plagued by drainage problems that caused the road to sink in.  Ashphalt and chip seal plugs simply fell through the bottom.  A road can only be as good as its foundation, and County Road 1 was simply never engineered for the volume, speed, and weight of traffic it receives.  And there was a lot more heavy construction traffic in the mid-2000s.

A new engineered drainage system has been installed in Colona.  The BOCC has awarded contracts for two phases of work on the worst sections of the northern portion of County Road 1, which is beginning this week. When it was realized how much mobilization was going to cost to get the contractor's talent and equipment to County Road 1, I realized it would be far better to get more work for the same mobilization costs.  So I and the Board requested our County Road and Bridge Department to go back and look at the worst sections of County Road 1 and develop a Phase II that could be performed back to back with Phase I.  The source of potential funds I identified were NOT reserves, as reported in the Plaindealer, but was instead money that was BUDGETED to be spent on employee wages and equipment in 2010, but was not spent.  The BOCC has a long standing policy that is not commonly used, to allow up to 1/2 of the unspent "fund balance" from the previous fiscal year to be used on one-time capital expenses.  Phase II of County Road 1 does indeed meet the criteria of this BOCC policy.

Below is the County Press Release regarding County Road 1 work.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me at 970-258-0836.

We do not anticipate needing to close the road during construction, but there will be only one lane in places and there may be 5 to 10 minute delays. 

Here is the press release:

Ouray County
County Road 1 Reconstruction Project

Proposed road improvements to County Road 1 (CR-1) just outside of Colona were bid in two separate bid packages by the Ouray County Commissioners (Phase I and II). The low bidder for both phases was Skip Huston Construction, Inc. of Montrose and contracts have been awarded to them for both phases.

Ouray County had budgeted in its 2011 Road and Bridge Capital budget $125,000 to improve a deteriorated portion of CR-1. Upon opening the Phase I bids and discussing the much needed improvements on CR-1, the Board of County Commissioners elected to bid out an additional phase this year entitled CR-1, Phase II. Funding for the additional work for CR-1, Phase II will be derived principally from 2011 operating revenue, and if necessary, a portion of fund balance may be used in accordance with the Ouray County Budget Policy; which authorizes the use of 50% of prior year’s ending fund balance for capital projects. The cost of Phase I will be $115,243 and the cost of Phase II will be $62,111 for a total CR-1 improvement cost of $177,354. Reserve funds will not be utilized for this project.

Phase I involves recycling the existing chip seal surface and resurfacing approximately 1,100 feet  of CR-1 with 3-inches of asphalt about ½ mile west of Colona. Previous damage to the road surface was attributed to saturation of the subgrade by subsurface water seepage from an existing irrigation pond and irrigation ditch uphill of the road section, so a subsurface drainage system is also being installed as a part of this phase.

Phase II consists of improving the curve just west of the Colona Grange. Once again, excessive damage to this section can be attributed to subgrade saturation from adjacent irrigation ditches. Three hundred and eighty (380) feet of road will be raised up to 2 feet above the existing road surface and a subsurface drainage system will be installed on the uphill side of the road. Once again, the repaired section will be surfaced with a 3-inch asphalt mat.

The contractor will begin construction on both phases on Monday August 22, 2011. Traffic on CR-1 may be limited to one-lane between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with up to 5 minute delays from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and up to 20 minute delays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Construction is expected to last through September.

If you have questions, please contact Bill “Frowny” Frownfelter or Chris Hardrick of Russell Planning and Engineering, Inc. 970-385-4546 or Chris Miller, Ouray Road and Bridge Supervisor at 970-626-5391.