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County unveils 2011 road program

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners has approved the 2011 road maintenance program at an estimated cost of $1.8 million.

The plan includes work on approximately 12 miles of gravel roads as well as pavement maintenance on approximately 12 miles of roads.

The proposed road work comes at a cost of $1.8 million, which leaves the county with approximately $500,000 of its $2.3 million road funding (between 1A and the Road Capital Improvement fund) to complete the West Cat Creek Bridge replacement and to allow for contingency and emergency projects.

The gravel portion of the program, at a cost of $650,000, includes two miles of gravel work in the Chromo area, two miles of Fourmile Road, five miles of Trujillo Road and three miles in the Upper Blanco area.

Additionally, the county has applied for funds from the Secure Rural Schools Title II Road Advisory Committee to complete an additional two miles of graveling and improvements on Fourmile Road. A decision on the funding should be made Friday.

In the pavement portion of the plan, just over two miles of Light Plant Road, 2.72 miles of North Pagosa Boulevard, 2.39 miles of South Pagosa Boulevard and 3.51 miles of Meadows Drive will receive a chip seal treatment at an estimated cost of $95,000 per mile.

Sections of Pinon Causeway, Buttress Avenue and Capricho Circle will receive slurry sealing at an estimated cost of $75,000 per mile.

Estimated costs do not include engineering services for the preparation of bid documents or construction phase services, which would add approximately another 10-12 percent, according to documents provided by Archuleta County.

The costs are based on 2010 prices plus 10 percent, the document states.

Prior to the construction contract, county crews will regrade all drainage swales, repair damaged culverts and rebuild road shoulders with new gravel, at which point a construction contractor is expected to crack seal, patch damaged asphalt areas, chip seal and restripe roadways.

Members of the county’s Road Advisory Task Force voiced opposition to portions of the county’s plan in written comments that were reiterated during Tuesday’s meeting.

At the meeting, RATF Chair Brett Locke called for the BoCC to create a more comprehensive plan that would be subject to the public for review. In their request for the plan, the RATF asked that a reason be provided for each project using the criteria of engineering (average daily traffic, remaining service life, safety), economic development and equitable distribution.

The RATF also called for the county to more evenly balance fixing roads that are “completely broken” and preserving what is not — somewhat of a turn from last year’s RATF consensus that the county needed to preserve pavement to prevent it from deteriorating to the point of other roads in the county.

The RATF comments further call for Piedra Road, Cloudcap Avenue and Trujillo Road to be “hot list” projects, with Piedra Road as a top priority for 2011.

In addressing Locke’s statements at the BoCC meeting, County Administrator Greg Schulte said the commissioners faced the decision of either doing the program presented or repairing one segment of a really bad road at the cost of forsaking other road maintenance.

Schulte also warned of tightening budgets beginning in 2012 with an expected drop in property tax revenue.

“If we don’t do this now ... we may not be able to get to that,” Schulte said, adding that the county would then have even more roads in bad shape.

Schulte also reminded the audience that the county is seeking funding through the U.S. Forest Service for Piedra Road repair.

Other members of the public, too, called for more public scrutiny of the county’s plan, while others questioned the county’s abilities to persuade homeowners to repair their driveways in order to lessen the drainage problems contributing to road deterioration throughout the county.

Additionally, Schulte apologized that the county was not more transparent regarding the program.

Locke further voiced that the county needed a plan in order for residents to be able to judge the county’s work, especially if they hoped to pass Ballot Issue 1A in November.

In the end, the BoCC accepted the presented road maintenance plan with no additions, as well as awarding a contract to Weber Sand and Gravel for gravel at a cost of $214,750.

The next BoCC meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on April 5 in the courthouse.

randi@pagosasun.com

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