Two local highway projects will receive money from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including $4 million to connect Grandview's "Bridge to Nowhere" with U.S. Highway 160.
An additional $4 million will be spent to move the intersections of county roads 222 and 223 into the Florida River valley. The project would realign the two current intersections into a single one.
"We are very, very pleased to be getting stimulus money," said Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman and Durango resident Nancy Shanks.
The money is part of the federal stimulus legislation Congress passed in February. Of the $825 billion, $403 was allocated to CDOT.
Reconstruction of County Road 222 and County Road 223, which both meet U.S. Highway 160 just east of Elmore's Corner, will take place after bids are collected in December. CDOT Transportation Commissioner and Durango resident Steve Parker estimated the project will take six months to complete after bids are in.
Parker said the current layout is "convoluted" and "chaotic." The intersection will be moved three-quarters of a mile east, into the Florida River valley, to aid in visibility. Acceleration, deceleration and turning lanes in both directions are planned. Wildlife sensors and cattle-guard-like deer guards also will be added.
"This is something that we've needed to have done for a long, long time," said Parker.
The second project will cap off La Plata County's "Bridge to Nowhere" on U.S. Highway 160, connecting the unattached, overhanging ramps of the partially completed overpass to frontage roads and back to U.S. Highway 160.
Shanks said road construction could start affecting drivers near the bridge early this summer.
Among an original list of 28 high-priority statewide projects devised by CDOT in 1996, the original plan to reroute U.S. Highway 550 over U.S. Highway 160 was finally initiated in November 2006, when the Federal Highway Administration approved an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed construction.
"We didn't have our ducks in a row in this part of the state, and other parts of the state of course, did. And as a result those projects got to go ahead," Parker said.
The shovels hit the dirt in July and the plan to draw traffic from Farmington Hill over private property, across U.S. Highway 160 and into the Grandview area near Mercy Medical Center, has languished in the down economy.
The bridge tie-off project will cost $4 million and take approximately six months once bids are collected in May, Parker said.
"This will make that a functional bridge," said Parker.
In a statement released yesterday, U.S. Rep John Salazar, D-Manassa, who voted in support the stimulus bill, said that every community should be represented in the bill.
"This funding will help our communities by rebuilding our aging roads and highways. I am proud to have supported these efforts, and I will continue to work to provide necessary funding for projects that will improve our infrastructure and strengthen our economy."