Traffic flow plan will reduce access points on U.S. Highway 6&50

Mesa County commissioners approved a plan Monday that transportation planners say will reduce access points and improve traffic flow on U.S. Highway 6&50 between Loma and Grand Junction.

The board unanimously agreed to join the Colorado Department of Transportation, Grand Junction and Fruita in signing an intergovernmental agreement for an access control plan for U.S. 6&50 between 12 and 24 roads. The section of Colorado Highway 139 between Interstate 70 and N 1/4 Road also is included in the plan.

The plan is intended to remove the number of roads and driveways that access the two highways and limit the left-hand turns that can be made from and onto the highways, an important goal given how much traffic is expected to increase in the coming years.

Ken Simms, transportation planner with the Mesa County Regional Transportation Planning Office, told commissioners the number of vehicles on U.S. 6&50 between Fruita and Grand Junction is expected to jump from roughly 20,000 today to more than 50,000 by 2035.

“It’s very critical we understand what the access needs will be in the future,” Simms said.

Simms emphasized that the plan will take years to implement and that no changes in access to the two highways will occur until properties along the corridors redevelop or a pattern of serious accidents emerges.

But several property owners objected to limitations the plan imposed on their properties, whether they reduce access or redirect traffic onto other roads.

Clay Madden, who lives at 1622 U.S. Highway 6&50, said he was concerned about access to his property being combined with his neighbor, and visitors only being able to turn right into and out of the property.

“I just don’t see U-turns being very safe on a highway,” he said.

Commissioner Craig Meis said he approves of the plan as long as it maintains flexibility.

“We want a plan, we want to follow it, but we don’t want to make it so onerous on somebody should a change be made,” he said.


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