Major road construction project starts this week between Silverthorne and Kremmling |

Major road construction project starts this week between Silverthorne and Kremmling

A map provided by Kirkland Construction and the Colorado Department of Transportation shows the alternate routes drivers can take to avoid the cone zone.

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Community members can sign up to receive project updates by calling 970-724-4724 or emailing SH9Kremmling@publ...

— Colorado Highway 9’s transformation into a safer road with wider shoulders and wildlife fencing is going to require a lot of patience from drivers in Northwest Colorado over the next two years.

In the coming weeks, drivers who take the highway between Silverthorne and Kremmling will encounter delays of up to 45 minutes from a combination of reduced speed limits, lane closures and traffic holds as construction crews begin a major project to make the road safer.

There could also be around a dozen road closures on weeknights as crews replace old culverts on the highway.

And when crews aren’t working, drivers will still encounter significantly lower speed limits when going through the construction zone because they will be driving on an unpaved road at times.

The project is being split into two phases, so the construction zone should not be longer than five to six miles at any one time.

Officials from Kirkland Construction and the Colorado Department of Transportation were in Steamboat Springs on Tuesday night to go over the schedule of the project and outline the alternate travel routes drivers can take to avoid the cone zone.

CDOT Resident Engineer Grant Anderson said the project will ramp up quickly after it starts this week.

Officials from Kirkland said asphalt on the highway will start to get ripped up soon, and much of the asphalt on a six-mile stretch of the highway will be gone by mid-June.

During the $39.2 million project, crews will widen the road, improve signage and striping and add wildlife fencing and seven wildlife overpasses and underpasses to the road, among other improvements.

From now through November, construction will occur on a six-mile stretch of the highway just south of Kremmling.

From April 2016 to November 2016, the work is expected to stretch from mile post 126 to 131 between Kremmling and the Green Mountain Reservoir.

The road will be repaved before the project is paused for the winter seasons.

Normal construction hours for the project will run from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but some work will be conducted on Saturdays.

Drivers should get a reprieve from the construction on Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day, the Independence Day holiday and during the USA Pro Challenge in August.

Drivers who want to avoid the Highway 9 cone zones this summer have a few alternate routes to consider that may make for a quicker trip, depending on the length of construction delays.

They can take Colorado Highway 131, which connects Steamboat Springs to Interstate 70 at Wolcott.

CDOT estimates this trip is about 35 minutes longer than using Highway 9.

Drivers can also take U.S. Highway 40 over Berthoud Pass on a route that is about 28 minutes longer.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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