CDOT needs to be attentive to conditions on Grand County’s Red Dirt Hill | SkyHiNews.com

CDOT needs to be attentive to conditions on Grand County’s Red Dirt Hill

Timing is everything.

And last Wednesday, CDOT’s timing couldn’t have been worse.

A string of four consecutive car accidents began a little before 8 a.m. when a white Ford Bronco rolled over at milepost 217.

The stretch of U.S. Highway 40 on the Granby side of Red Dirt Hill was snow-packed and icy. A state trooper responding to the accidents said it was so icy that it was difficult just to walk at the scene.

Five minutes after the Bronco rollover accident, a gray Chevrolet pickup rolled over just east of the Ford Bronco.

At 8:09 a.m., a white Oldsmobile slid off the road and crashed into a tree. The 15-year-old driver and her father were transported by ambulance to Denver.

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The vehicular circus ended with the fourth and final accident.

The busy stretch of highway was closed for almost an hour as the scene was cleared and the injured helped.

The Granby Fire Department did a good job that morning of directing traffic. They parked a vehicle around the bend of the accident alerting drivers that they needed to slow down.

The highway was cleaned up by 10:55 a.m. and that’s about when the calls started coming in.

Witnesses began e-mailing and calling the newspaper and commenting our Web site ” all asking the same question: Why wasn’t that stretch of highway sanded?

Of all the roads in Grand County, that stretch of U.S. Highway 40 should be a priority for sanding after a snowstorm.

On weekday mornings, that stretch of road is busy. Commuters are heading from one town to another for work and school buses and parents bring children to school.

We recognize that CDOT is facing some extreme budget cuts this year, but there are certain services that should not suffer ” even in difficult economic times.

Keeping our mountain roads as safe as possible through the winter must remain a priority.

Wednesday’s accidents were also the result of drivers going too fast for the conditions ” officers pointed out.

While CDOT bears some of the responsibility, drivers need to watch speeds and distances between cars. In Grand County, where life is supposed be offered at a different pace ” there is an awful lot of angry tailgating that is completely inappropriate, even dangerous, for the conditions.

At this newspaper, when we see an accident scene like the one witnessed Wednesday morning, we get a sick feeling in our stomachs.

Just in the past year, news of car accidents on icy roads has too often come with news of a fatality. It’s a story we dread telling.

Thankfully, Wednesday morning spared everyone involved.

The ground is dry and the sun is out today, but winter is about to start in earnest.

If Wednesday morning was a fluke, so be it. If not, CDOT needs to examine its routes and schedules and make the necessary changes to ensure the safety of Grand County drivers.

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