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Pagosa: A 7-stoplight town

In the coming weeks, Pagosa Springs will be a seven-stoplight town after Colorado Department of Transportation workers install a signal at the intersection of U.S. 160 and Eighth Street.

According to information provided during a meeting between CDOT staff, Archuleta County staff and the board of county commissioners, the project has been awarded to a contractor and is waiting on a notice to proceed.

A list of current and upcoming projects provided during the meeting shows an estimated budget for the project of $830,000, funded through FASTER, which raised vehicle registration fees to have increased funding for roads in Colorado.

The project is slated for completion by mid October, according to the document.

Other projects on the list include the replacement of a failing culvert near milepost 142 on U.S. 160, west of 10th Street in Pagosa Springs.

The work, with an estimated cost of $693,000, is set to begin in September and be completed by November.

A project slated to be advertised next summer, in 2013, includes improvements to intersections in Aspen Springs.

“This project includes intersection improvements at Hurt and Badger Drives along US 160,” the project list states.

CDOT staff said at Tuesday’s meeting that the project will also include some sight improvements through grading, a 300-foot-long, nine-foot-high retaining wall, and improvements to the Turkey Springs intersection.

At the meeting, the commissioners showed interest in seeing aestheic options for the wall, which CDOT said could be done.

Additionally, the road is expected to be resurfaced from the newly-resurfaced area near West Cat Creek (where bridge construction is taking place) to the area near Happy Camper, which was resurfaced in recent years.

CDOT staff said the project will be advertised in June 2013, with some construction likely taking place that year, but with the majority of construction taking place in 2014.

In addition to discussing those projects at the meeting, County Administrator Greg Schulte urged CDOT staff to be “creative” and help process paperwork in an expedited manner to allow the county to access the $3.5 million awarded to the county last week for the reconstruction of Piedra Road (CDOT is currently set to administer the grant funds).

“Our aim here is to try to get this so we’re doing the construction in thirteen,” Schulte said.

CDOT Region 5 Director Kerrie Neet said she believed the county’s award of $3.5 million was the region’s second largest federal grant, second to last year’s $4.6 million for work on the interchange at Mesa Verde. Neet also noted that the Public Lands Highway funding (from which the $3.5 million came) is going away.

Neet vowed to do what she could to help, adding that she needed to figure out the flow of the money.

Neet also stated that, since the project is on a federal forest highway and not a CDOT road, the U.S. Forest Service could oversee the project.

County Public Works Director Ken Feyen noted that the county has done everything possible before getting the contract and was ready.

“I think you’ve been bold,” Transportation Commissioner Steve Parker said, noting that he knows the county has been looking for funding for Piedra Road for at least 11 years.

“I think you’re in good shape, in all honesty,” Neet said.

The two entities also discussed the 2011 CDOT Annual Report at the meeting, which includes breakdowns of the revenues and expenditures of CDOT on statewide and regional levels.

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