Colorado Department of Transportation announces emergency contract for Highway 40 repaving

Potholes riddle U.S. Highway 40 through Grand County.
Tara Alatorre/ Sky-Hi News

Signs at the top of Berthoud Pass and near the entrance to Mary Jane along U.S. Highway 40 warn drivers of poor road conditions on the highway. The Colorado Department of Transportation announced May 30 it will use emergency contracts to do repairs on the north side of Berthoud Pass to improve the conditions as soon as possible.

The CDOT news release included 12 projects around the state that will receive money from $25 million of additional funds the department received from its governing body, the Transportation Commission of Colorado, in April. Nearly 30% of the $25 million — $7.3 million — will go to work on Highway 40, while $10.3 million will go to another emergency contract repair on Interstate 70 east of the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels.

Repairs on Highway 40 will be between mileposts 233-243, or from Winter Park Resort to the top of the pass. Elise Thatcher, the CDOT Region 3 communications director, said the 10-mile stretch of highway will be repaved, meaning crews will take off and replace 2 inches of asphalt across all lanes of the road.

Crews from CDOT work on repairing potholes on the U.S. 40 in Grand County.
Tara Alatorre/Sky-Hi News

“The conditions are not what we find to be acceptable,” Thatcher said about the road damage that has been especially bad on Highway 40 this winter.

Thatcher said CDOT will have meetings with contractors the first week of June to set a timeline for the Highway 40 repaving and the department wants to start work as soon as possible, hopefully having crews on the highway in July. She said a project as large as repaving 10 miles of road takes time to coordinate, but in the meantime, crews will continue patching potholes by hand.

Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos wrote in an email to Sky-Hi News that CDOT has told the town it will work to avoid weekend traffic during the repaving. The town asks that visitors and community members drive safely through the area so CDOT can complete construction quickly.

“Winter Park – all of Grand County – appreciates the repaving of Berthoud Pass being done by CDOT this summer,” Kutrumbos wrote. “As many people will attest – this work is overdue and desperately needed. There is no doubt that Grand County has CDOT’s attention. The State’s multi-million dollar non-budgeted repaving investment on the pass proves our voice has been heard.”

Kutrumbos added that the town will continue to advocate that CDOT address Highway 40 maintenance issues.

The Grand County Board of County Commissioners issued a statement about the funding coming to the county, saying they look forward to seeing much-needed safety improvements.

“We hope this is just the beginning of attention to the State-managed roadways that not only serve our residents, but are also traveled by millions of visitors every year,” the statement read.

The money for the project comes from an April decision from Gov. Jared Polis’ office and the Transportation Commission of Colorado to put an additional $45 million towards snow and ice removal and road repair related to winter damage. Snow and ice removal efforts received $19.6 million, while $25 million went to road repair, especially of potholes.

CDOT emphasized the severity of the weather this winter in the news release, stating it was one of the most intense winters in recent decades and caused more road damage than normal. It stated that Highway 40 has “experienced badly deteriorating conditions since mid-winter and maintenance crews have spent weeks making temporary fixes during the seasonal freeze-thaw cycles.”

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