Let’s get serious about beltway project
The Grand Junction City Council is looking at a plan that would wrap the city with a well-connected set of roads.
The plan would pay off in ways that go far beyond the pavement.
The beltway idea is far from new. 29 Road and its new bridges over the Colorado River and the railroad yard in the middle of the valley form the east side of the beltway. The plan under consideration by the council would widen the north end of 29 Road and extend it to Interstate 70.
Connecting 29 Road to the interstate is important because that opens a clear connection between U.S. Highway 50 on Orchard Mesa and the state’s major east-west roadway in I-70.
The connection would allow motorists and trucks from Orchard Mesa, Whitewater and even Gateway, to say nothing of Delta and Montrose, easy access to Interstate 70.
There’s more, but first let’s note that plan would make I-70 an integral part of the Grand Valley’s transportation system, connecting a widened 24 Road leading into the city’s commercial center, and 29 Road, relieving pressure off heavily used Patterson Road.
The 29 Road interchange would provide access to the east end of Grand Junction Regional Airport for air-freight businesses, increasing the value of the airport as a hub for regional freight transportation and industry.
Of course, nothing comes without cost, but the cost of this project is downright cheap.
As it stands now, voters would approve the issuance of $60 million in bonds for the project. At payoff in 20 years, the project would cost $82 million. By the same token, Riverside Parkway will cost $120 million, $80 million in construction and the rest in borrowing costs.
It’s important to complete the beltway as soon as possible, and we urge the City Council to move ahead on preparing the project as well as voter approval in the April election.