Improved, wider road to Powderhorn opens

Mesa County officials cut a ribbon Thursday to mark the successful completion of the $400,000 Powderhorn Road improvement project.

Accurate Construction & Excavation of Fruita was awarded the contract to widen the narrow, winding road that leads from Colorado Highway 65 to the resort.

A 16-foot gravel shoulder on the north side of the road, also known as E 1/4 Road, was expanded for about 2,500 feet.

In addition, a section of the road that ran along a steep drop-off was moved roughly 25 feet from the edge, Mesa County spokesman Ryan Cook said.

Prior to construction, the tight throughway posed a danger, especially in winter, when the resort’s parking lot filled up and skiers parked their vehicles on the roadside, Cook said.

“Powderhorn is such a major economic player in our county,” he said. “Economic development was another reason for the county to do this project.”

To the extent the roadwork increases visitation to the resort, the county should enjoy increased sales tax revenue, Cook said.

The widening will have an impact beyond just access in and out for skiers and bike riders. Powderhorn General Manager Sam Williams said it will also make it easier for emergency vehicles to get in and out.

The resort was purchased in August 2011 by an ownership group that includes members of the Gart family, known for sporting goods stores in the Colorado region. Powderhorn is in the process of upgrading amenities and facilities resort-wide, including boosting off-season activities.

“As we continue to expand our operations — we’re looking at bike parks and some other things like that — having that widened shoulder for pedestrian and bike traffic is going to make things a lot safer for them also,” Williams said.


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