County to mag Piedra Road

Staff Writer

Archuleta County can now add the gravel portion of Piedra Road (from Jack’s Pasture Road to the Hinsdale County line) to its list of roads receiving a magnesium chloride application this year.

Although not a county road beyond the cattle guard at the end of the pavement, Archuleta County has traditionally applied mag chloride to a portion of the road for dust abatement through an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service.

In that agreement, the USFS pays for the material, and the county applies it.

However, it looked as though that agreement would not be renewed in 2014 due to sequestration at the federal level, with Archuleta County Public Works Director Ken Feyen initially being told funding was not available for the application.

At the March 18 meeting in which the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioner approved the agreement with the USFS, commission chair Clifford Lucero thanked Feyen for going back to the USFS again and pushing for the agreement.

“It’s an important piece of roadway,” commissioner Steve Wadley said, calling the dust on the road dangerous.

Lucero also noted that the road is the most-traveled road accessing the San Juan National Forest and with fires in prior years (such as the Little Sand Fire in the Piedra area), had the road not received mag chloride, more money would have been spent applying water for dust control than the mag chloride costs.

In the 2014 agreement, the USFS will proved $26,697.50 to the county to apply mag chloride to 9.1 miles of road.

Piedra Road is also known as County Road 600 and, in Forest Service territory, as Forest Service Road 631.