Grand County commits $400,000 to Red Dirt Hill study |

Grand County commits $400,000 to Red Dirt Hill study

Grand County commissioners have approved a contract with the state that promises $400,000 toward designing improvements on Red Dirt Hill.

The amount was previously budgeted by the county with the hope it would help push forward improvements on a stretch of US Highway 40 long considered a dangerous road in Grand County. Red Dirt Hill runs from roughly the YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch to Church of Eternal Hills between Granby and Tabernash.

Last year, county commissioners and Colorado Department of Transportation officials sat down to go over a safety study on Red Dirt Hill that outlined more than $7 million worth of improvements.

While a few of the recommended improvements met CDOT’s qualifications for hazard funding — namely centerline rumble strips near County Road 86 and shoulder rumble strips near County Road 54 — state transportation officials explained that designing additional improvements, such as lane modifications, would not be within CDOT’s capacity.

CDOT officials did say at that meeting that they would put higher consideration on conducting work if the county finances the design.

In response, Grand committed to funding the design for $4.4 million worth of improvements on three intersections on Red Dirt Hill. Design work typically equals about 10-15% of the project cost. The intergovernmental agreement approved Tuesday commits $400,000 to a feasibility study.

According to the scope of work outlined in the contract, the project will include a complete topographical survey, which should start soon, along with a preliminary design assessment for the true cost and feasibility of improvements on Red Dirt Hill.

Potential design options include acceleration/deceleration lanes, climbing lane reconfiguration in both directions, signing and lighting improvements, shoulder widening and rumble strips. A summer traffic count may need to be conducted as well.

The state will manage the project with concept plans and a design estimate expected by October 2022.

CDOT officials previously told the county that they planned to do some smaller work on Red Dirt Hill this summer. This could include adding more signage, rumble strips and adjusting paint markings on the road.

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