Guardrail repairs cost Routt County $100K-plus annually |

Guardrail repairs cost Routt County $100K-plus annually

No life-threatening injuries were reported in this 2016 crash into a guardrail at U.S. Highway 40 and Routt County Road 42.
file photo

— The slow-motion slide into a highway guardrail is an all-too-frequent mishap on the Routt County road system in winter, so much so, that the Routt County Board of Commissioners is all but reconciled to spending more than $100,000 annually to replace dented guardrails.

The commissioners agreed Aug. 30 to award Ideal Fencing of Erie a $109,775 contract to fix bashed guardrails on roads and bridges this fall in time for the winter season when they’ll be subjected to people driving too fast for conditions all over again.

The budget is spread between $49,945 for new sections of guardrail on roads and $59,830 on bridges.

“There are places they were smacked pretty good,” Road and Bridge field coordinator Geovanny Romero said. “They were bent in a V shape.”

A big part of the replacement cost, almost half, Romero said is simply staging for the job. Requests for proposals were sent out to four contractors, and Ideal Fencing was the only one to submit a complete bid.

One other contractor bid on the work on the paved and gravel roads here but did not bid on the bridge work. Two others failed to respond.

Commissioner Cari Hermacinski wondered if building more lead time into the requests for proposals would lead to a more competitive bidding process, or if it was possible to replace guardrails every other year to save on costs.

Romero said the department was already planning to budget for the cost to be $120,000 in 2017 but repairing the guardrails annually is also a safety issue. He added the department is taking on the job of tightening loosened guardrail posts in house.

Commissioner Doug Monger was philosophical about the never-ending need to replace guardrails.

“I think there’s $100,000 of damage every year,” Monger said. “We just have to deal with it.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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