More widening of Highway 6&50 part of transportation plan

QUICKREAD

If you go

2035 Regional Transportation Plan open houses

• Tuesday, 4 to 7 p.m., Mesa County Courthouse, 544 Rood Ave.

• Wednesday, 4 to 7 p.m., at Fruita Civic Center, 325 E. Aspen Ave.

• Thursday, 4 to 7 p.m.,  Palisade Community Center, 120 W. Eighth St.



A draft transportation plan will be unveiled this week, giving the public an opportunity to comment on how local governments should invest in new road and trail construction, road maintenance and bus service over the next 25 years.

Mesa County elected officials, local government staff and residents have worked for about a year to develop the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, which breaks down the local transportation system into four categories: new and widened roads; road maintenance; nonmotorized systems; and public transit.

Officials expect to spend roughly $450 million on the local transportation system in the next 25 years, if they continue to fund the system at today’s spending levels.

But during a workshop in August, public officials indicated a preference for investing an additional $200 million on transportation by 2035, a 44 percent increase over current funding levels.

To pay for that elevated spending, the funding option most supported by officials was an elevated transportation impact fee paid by builders on new developments. A local vehicle registration fee was the least supported.

Assuming future transportation funding remains on par with what local governments currently spend, project manager Ken Simms said the public should expect to see a couple of expanded roadways and a few new trails.

Topping the list of widened or new roadways are the continuation of the U.S. Highway 6&50 widening project between 24 3/4 Road and the intersection of First Street and Grand Avenue. Officials also want to expand 29 Road between F Road and Interstate 70 and create a new I-70 interchange, although there’s no definitive timeline for that project.

New trails could include additional links in the Colorado Riverfront Trail and a trail along Little Salt Wash in Fruita.

Simms said Grand Valley Transit could extend its service hours into the evening but likely would have to cut one of its 11 routes to pay for that, unless funding is boosted.

The Grand Valley Regional Transportation Committee, which is made up of representatives from Mesa County, Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade, is expected to adopt the plan early next year.


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