CDOT will start resurfacing U.S. 40 through Craig in May

The overlay project is one of several planned in the city this summer

Heavy equipment from Duran & Pearce Contractors tears up the sidewalk on the corner of Yampa Avenue and Victory Way last summer. Work to resurface 12 miles of U.S. Highway 40 through Craig will start in the middle of May.
Cuyler Meade/Craig Press archive

A project to resurface 12 miles of U.S. Highway 40 through downtown Craig headlines construction planned in the city this summer.

In mid-May, the Colorado Department of Transportation will begin a project to mill down the old roadway and overlay it with new asphalt from mile marker 92 east of Craig to mile marker 80 on the city’s west side.

“Traffic impacts will start then or a little after,” said Elise Thatcher, spokesperson for CDOT in Northwest Colorado. “When we’ve got everything up and running, we are going to ask motorists to anticipate 20 minute delays.”

The delay will primarily be because crews will need to have one-way alternating traffic on U.S. 40 for parts of the project, Thatcher said. The project will also replace a traffic light and make sidewalk improvements at the intersection of the highway and Green Street.

The construction area is part of the northern alternate route for Interstate 70, should Colorado’s main corridor through the mountains need to close for safety reasons this summer. Last summer mudslides in Glenwood Canyon damaged I-70, often redirecting heavy traffic to the north.

Thatcher said CDOT crews on this project would try to balance the desire to get the project done on schedule with the flow of extra traffic through Craig if there is a safety closure.

“The goal is to manage this project in a way so that we can keep getting work done if at all possible, but not affecting detour traffic,” Thatcher said. “If there’s a big closure, what we’re going to try and do is shift to work that keeps the project moving but doesn’t have that single-lane alternating closure.”

Craig City Manager Peter Brixius said part of the project would also replace a water line and make some drainage improvements along U.S. 40.

The city is also participating in a “devolution” with CDOT on part of a frontage road along the highway on the west end of town near Finley Lane, Brixius said. This means CDOT will conduct improvements to the road and then turn over the responsibility of it going forward to the city.

“We just feel like it could be better served (by the city) as it’s not a high priority for CDOT at this point,” Brixius said. “It’s just over a mile of highway frontage that they will deliver after they’ve improved it.”

CDOT will also overlay part of Yampa Avenue through Craig’s core, which will compliment 2,400 feet of sidewalk improvements the city recently completed.

Brixius said Craig is continuing to pursue multimodal funding through CDOT, so the city can explore more pedestrian improvements with the hope of eventually connecting city parks, schools, commercial business areas and the hospitality district. One grant being pursued would improve sidewalks on both sides of Yampa Avenue from Sixth Street to Ninth Street.

“Beyond that, we have discussed with CDOT that we’d like to use our equipment and finish out a trail segment from Ninth Street up to North Park,” Brixius said. “Long term, our objective is to connect all those trail segments that we are building.”

Eventually this trail system hopes to connect up to a whitewater park that Craig has been working on for more than a year. Brixius said the city has been working to get necessary permits and approvals from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The park would be near Craig’s diversion structure on the Yampa River and feature a parking lot, bathrooms and little amphitheater-like structures along the river. Further downstream, there will be another boat ramp and more parking, all connected by trails.

Brixius said crews hope to start the first phase of construction in September, with the second phase coming next year.

“These are definitely multi-year projects,” Brixius said. “We have a lot of supporters, just amazing support up and down the river, (and) we hope to secure the grants this summer.”

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