Highway 34 tree removal project awarded to contractor
The Colorado Department of Transportation has awarded the project to remove lodge pole pine trees along US 34 to contractor McGowan Enterprises of Harrisburg, Nebraska, for $211,878. The work is expected to begin later this month, following CDOT’s preconstruction meeting with the contractor.
This project was requested in January 2007 by Grand County, with the support of the communities of Grand Lake, Fraser, Granby, Winter Park, Kremmling and Hot Sulphur Springs. The primary purpose and need for the work is to improve US 34 as an evacuation corridor in the event of a fire. The tree-removal project also will reduce the chances that a fire can be set by passing traffic, and it will improve the corridor as a potential fire break.
The project limits on US 34 are between milepost 5.50 (near Grand County Road 6) and milepost 15.01, the Rocky Mountain National Park boundary. The work will involve lodge pole pine trees within the highway right of way. All lodge pole pines greater than four inches in diameter will be removed. Stumps will remain, however all logs and slash will become the property of the contractor and will be removed from the project.
Last August, CDOT held a public meeting at the Grand Lake Fire District to discuss the scope of the project and answer questions from the community.
“The meeting was very productive.” said CDOT Resident Engineer Van Pilaud. “The Town of Grand Lake, Grand County, the Grand Lake Fire District, Colorado’s State Forester and most of the public expressed strong support for the project.” In his remarks, Fire Chief Mike Long pointed out that the project complements the Town’s Fire Evacuation Plan.
Anticipated impacts to travel on US 34 will include lane closures with flaggers and a pilot car to escort vehicles through the work zone. The contract allows maximum delays of twenty minutes.
“Protection of the environment and private property was also discussed at the meeting,” Pilaud said. “The contract requires minimal environmental impacts and special care when working around structures and utilities. To minimize
environmental damage, the contractor elected to perform the work in frozen, snow-covered ground.”
Further details regarding the project schedule and specific impacts to travel will be publicized prior to construction.
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