Mesa County gets grant for road project

Drivers will soon have a smoother route to navigate on 45 1/2 Road thanks to a $1.43 million grant for construction that will ease the severity of switchbacks on the thoroughfare.

The road, also known as De Beque Cutoff Road, stretches from Grand Mesa Scenic Byway just north of the turnoff for Colorado State Highway 330 to Interstate 70 near De Beque. It provides the only detour for motorists when Interstate 70 is closed in De Beque Canyon.

The severe switchback curves along the road mean Mesa County employees have to guide traffic in one direction through the entire detour when the interstate is closed in De Beque Canyon, then guide traffic waiting on the other side along the road in the opposite direction, according to Mesa County Assistant to the Director of Public Works Connie Hahn. Steep curves also mean a tight fit on the road for larger vehicles used by the energy industry, which Hahn said are frequent users of the road.

“We’ve gotten complaints, especially when I-70 gets shut down,” Hahn said.

Thank you letters have already rolled in ahead of the construction project to smooth the curves between milemarkers 2 and 2.6 on 45 1/2 Road.

The project will be funded by a $1.43 million grant the Department of Local Affairs recently awarded to Mesa County. The grant is from DOLA’s energy and mineral impact assistance program and was awarded due to the road’s frequent use by energy industry vehicles, according to Hahn.

The two-phase project is scheduled to begin this summer and may last six to eight months.

Construction work will involve some blasting and the road will be closed for a short time during those periods and for cleanup from the blasts. Hahn estimated the road may be closed for up to 45 minutes during those times but will remain open during most of the project.


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