Saturdays added to schedule

Drivers should expect traffic delays on Muddy Pass

— Drivers traveling Rabbit Ears Pass will now face half-hour-plus construction delays Saturdays as well as weekdays.

The Colorado Department of Transportation had decided to add Saturdays to its work schedule to ensure that construction on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass, known as Muddy Pass, will be completed in early fall, said Glenn Violette, resident engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Drivers should expect delays of up to 35 minutes.

"We've made really decent progress, but we did get started late," Violette said.

"We don't anticipate working nights. However, we will most likely be working all the daylight hours available Monday through Saturday."

The project involves a $4 million reconstruction of a 2-mile segment of the pass. Workers have started graveling and paving the road and should complete landscaping, including seeding, mulching and erosion control in early October, Violette said.

Until the project is finished, drivers can avoid the construction zone by detouring on Colorado Highways 131 and 134.

Although drivers will be waiting on Rabbit Ears Pass, they won't be waiting on U.S. Highway 40 between Steamboat Springs and Hayden, where a chip-and-seal project has been complete.

Pavement markings for railroad crossings need to be replaced, which could take place today and would cause minimal delays.

"If everything comes together and the weather treats us nice, we should be complete 100 percent by the end of the week," Violette said.

Workers also may be able to replace turn-lane markings, but Violette said funding for those inadvertently was left out of the contract, so officials need to determine whether funds are available to replace the markings.

Construction of a bridge over the Colorado River outside of Kremmling has been completed, and Hamon Contractors has been contracted to rebuild a railroad overpass on U.S. 40 east of Kremmling, Violette said.

A project that will add two extra lanes for turning and climbing near Winter Park on U.S. 40 between the downtown and ski areas should be completed in early October, he said.

The $20 million in road improvements that have been made in the region this summer and fall has kept the department very busy, he said.

"It's been very hectic trying to keep up with it all," Violette said. "Fortunately, it seems to all be coming together, and we've had a very successful year."

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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