Grand County awards tree-cutting bids to two local companies
Sky-Hi Daily News
The Grand County Division of Natural Resources is contracting with two Grand County logging companies to take out about 4,400 trees along rights of way as part of a multi-year endeavor.
Division Foreman Jennifer Murray presented proposals to the county commissioners last Tuesday. The companies chosen for 2008 projects, Cecil Logging and Grand County Tree Care, were the lowest bidders for the Upper Fraser Valley and Three Lakes area. Loggers will be removing all trees 4 inches in diameter or greater within 20 feet of either side of the county’s primary roads.
In the Three Lakes area, tree removal projects are moving from north to south, according to Murray, and this year will start on County Roads 49,48, 47 and 471. In the Fraser Valley, tree removal this year will concentrate on CR 50 and part of CR 8, she said.
As much as $85,000 is being spent for each of the areas. Grand County is throwing in Title 3 funds for the work, and the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado State Forest Service have provided grant money.
An Oct. 1 target date has been set to complete each of the projects, which will comprise of an estimated 2,125 trees taken out of the Upper Fraser and 2,297 trees taken out of the Three Lakes area. Grand County Tree Care offered the winning bid at $39.99 per tree for the Upper Fraser and Cecil Logging’s winning bid came in at $37 per tree for the Three Lakes area.
A government liaison from the Colorado Department of Transportation told the Grand County commissioners last Tuesday that the future looks grim for the condition of Colorado’s highways.
Michelle Halstead of CDOT gave an update about transportation funding, saying the state is expecting $300 million less than what was forecasted in gas tax revenues.
The reason is attributed to people driving less due to higher gas prices and having more efficient cars on the road, affecting federal and state gas-tax dollars, she said.
“Despite the rising price of gasoline, state tax and federal tax (on gasoline) have stayed the same.”
Due to a Colorado voter decision in 1993, “the state is still operating with the same amount of gas tax it had in the mid-90s,” she said.
Drivers of Colorado’s roads spend 22 cents per gallon in fuel tax. The federal fuel tax is 18 cents per gallon.
CDOT reports that of every dollar spent on the cost of driving, 8 percent of it covers gas tax and state registration fees that pay for roads and bridges. The rest of the dollar covers auto loan finance charges, maintenance costs, full coverage insurance, gasoline and other registration fees.
The state’s driving infrastructure is aging at a time when inflation is on the rise, Halstead explained, calling for a need for more stable CDOT funding. A governor-appointed transportation panel is in place to provide public education and proposals to the Legislature in 2009.
In Grand County, the state has identified segments of highway in poor condition, such as Highways 40,125 and 134. About 20 percent of Colorado highways are rated poor in Grand County with a lifespan of 1 to 6 more years, with 22 percent rated fair (6 to 11 years) and 37 percent rated good (11 years or longer). There are no state bridges categorized as poor in Grand County.
CDOT manages 9,156 miles of highway, 3,754 on-system bridges, 1,700 miles of guardrail, 1,800 signalized intersections, 180,000 signs and 6,000 ditches.
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