Red Dirt Hill to see improvements this summer
They’re not everything Grand County had hoped for, but some changes are coming to Red Dirt Hill.
Officials with the road and bridge department updated Grand County commissioners on Tuesday about desired safety improvements to the stretch of US Highway 40 known as Red Dirt Hill. The area has long been seen as a dangerous stretch of road in the county.
Last year, commissioners sat down with the Colorado Department of Transportation to go over recommended improvements from roughly the YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch to Church of Eternal Hills between Granby and Tabernash. The study outlined $7 million worth of improvements, but finding the money will be a challenge.
The county’s road and bridge superintendent, Chris Baer, learned during recent conversations with CDOT that a few safety improvements will be implemented this summer. Specifically, CDOT plans to add more signage, rumble strips and adjust paint markings on the road.
Grand County budgeted $400,000 this year to design major changes laid out in CDOT’s recommended safety improvements study. However, those designs won’t happen this year.
The state department is working to get survey and topography work done on the stretch, which will cost an estimated $175,000. Baer said he is working on an agreement with CDOT for a cost-sharing agreement to ensure that the project keeps moving forward.
Baer has also been communicating with the Grand Valley Subdivision about closing the County Road 86 entrance to US 40, which was another suggestion from CDOT’s safety study.
He said neighbors are mostly in favor of closing the road, but there is a concern from a number of people who use it as an acceleration lane. Baer said the plan is to do work in the area and possibly shut down the road when the bigger project begins.
Any official decisions related to infrastructure improvements or re-routing on that road would go through a public process before being finalized.
The commissioners emphasized their hopes to keep making headway on this project.
“The BOCC is 100% committed to investing in several safety improvements on Red Dirt Hill,” Commissioner Rich Cimino said of Tuesday’s discussions. “We appreciate cooperation with CDOT as we fix this critical section of US 40.”
Editor’s note: An additional paragraph has been added to this story to emphasize that no official decision has been made related to the possible closure of County Road 86.
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Officials with the US Forest Service are refuting reports they’re close to pinpointing what or who caused the massive East Troublesome Fire in Grand County.